Organizations cannot exist without problems. In fact, it give them life. Groups of people come together in order to solve issues. It could be creating transportation system, housing and clothes. Organizations are made of people with different skills and intelligence trying to provide a solution to a particular problem. I have the feeling that we are surrounded by problems, not the ones with a negative meaning but the ones we try to solve using creativity. This can also be challenging.
In this quest for solutions, we may sometimes lose ourselves. It happens that an issue pops up while we are trying to solve our problem. There are then different ways to solve the issue. As you will guess some ways are better than others because more efficient and logical. In general, we can react in the ways illustrated bellow.
First of all, you can either blame someone for making the mistake that led to the issue or recognize the existence of the problem. Blaming is a sterile exercise because it create negatives feelings that are not a good sign for the future of the group work. Imagine two teammates working together on creating a PowerPoint for a presentation due tomorrow. After a wrong manipulation the presentation disappears from the screen. Everything is lost. If the teammates spend their time blaming each other they will not solve the issue. On the contrary, it will generate a negative relationship which will not help create a new presentation. Blaming others takes energy, time and sometimes good relationships. Now, if our two teammates recognize the issue – no more presentation. They can focus on finding a solution which will for sure be faster and more effective than blaming each other.
Second, you can focus on the past or the present and both dynamics will have different consequences. A focus on the past is like replaying the event in loops which won’t help ease the bad feeling it creates. A focus on the present, on the opposite takes the information from the past event and uses it to build a possible solution. The two colleagues can either get more and more upset or decide to take actions.
Last but not least, in a bigger group people may start to speak about the problem. In some cases, they may gossip and share the blaming past oriented version of the event while in other cases they may inform others about what happened to avoid that this event happens again. Story telling is very powerful in organizations and bad news usually circulate faster than good ones.
As a leader or a manager or even as en employee it is our responsibility to ensure that problems are solved by following few rules:
- Recognize issues and not blame
- Be present oriented and not past oriented
- Inform to avoid repetition of the issue but do not gossip
What are your tips? how would you go from Bigger issues to Solutions?