It’s inevitable. At some point (well actually many points) in your life, you will come up against adversity. Whether it’s a person, a situation or a mistake made, you must decide when the time comes how you will handle the problem. Some people prefer to talk about it, FOREVER! Going in circles and repeating the same thing over and over again is not an effective way to get to the solution. The following are the 5 steps to help you learn a solution focused approach to both everyday and major problems. Using these steps, you can reach a positive outcome in under 30 minutes.
Give yourself a maximum of 5 minutes to really see and define the problem. Ask yourself the right kinds of questions. The important thing here is to not harp on who did what or who’s to blame. You need to observe the situation from an objective point of view. Bringing emotion in at this point is completely unacceptable and unproductive. Take a few deep breaths, and then begin the process of defining the problem as it stands. Some of the questions you might consider include:
Who are the key players?
How did the issue arise?
What’s been done about it so far?
What’s the current status of the situation?
- Best Outcome Analysis
Now that you understand exactly where you stand, you need to determine your preferred best-case scenario. For the next 5 minutes (or under) figure out the following; If everything lined up just right, what would that look like? Paint that picture clearly in your head. While it might appear that this step is coming a little too soon, this is what you want to be focusing on. Whether you alone are problem solving or you have an entire team, get everyone to envision your desired outcome. Paint a real and vivid picture.
- Create the Road Map
Now that you know where you want to go, the key will be to determine how to get there. You get 10 minutes to brainstorm. Any idea is welcome during this process. Anything that will help get you from A to Z should be shouted out or written down. Small steps are the key. Remember that at this point, you are no longer harping on what happened. You must shift your focus toward the Best Outcome Analysis and come up with the HOW. Inch by inch is the rule of thumb. Grandiose ideas can seem overwhelming. Breaking it down into small achievable steps allows you to feel positive and capable. Figure out which small steps lead you to your best outcome.
- Delegate the Solution
You’ve figured out the little steps needed to help you achieve your best outcome. Now it’s time to delegate and get cracking! Who needs to remain involved in the problem solving process? Who will best complete what steps to ensure that you achieve your desired outcome. Pride must be shoved aside during this 5 minute exercise. The key is to ensure that the right people are in place, completing the right tasks to get the problem resolved and get the action plan complete.
- Solution Analysis
Once your plan is put into action and your outcome determined, sit down for 5 minutes and analyze the following:
Did we achieve our best possible outcome?
What did we do right while resolving the issue?
What could we have done better?
MOST IMPORTANT: How do we avoid the same problem in the future?
It’s important to share your input with everyone involved in the problem and/or the solution. This exercise is not meant to bring the problem back up, rather, it’s meant to focus on the solution and avoidance for future repeat.