January 23, 2019

Identify Solutions, Not Problems

Nancy Steiger

Nancy Steiger
President/Nancy Steiger Consulting

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"Next time you identify a problem, I challenge you to consider the many possible ways that the problem can be solved."

 

A few weeks ago I shared my philosophy of “Don’t tell me no, tell me how.” This idea is really about the importance of finding new ways to solve a problem and being a solution-oriented person rather than someone who finds a myriad of reasons why something can’t or shouldn’t be done. Identifying solutions is about being able to say “yes” when someone approaches you with a problem – it’s about looking for new ways to solve those problems – and really, it’s about the how.

When you’re in a leadership position, it can feel like your colleagues and direct reports think you have a magic wand or a secret way of solving problems. As a CEO I would often meet with individuals and teams who could give me a long list of problems they needed to be solved, and yes, leadership is about removing barriers and providing resources, and I always wanted to hear about the risks and issues, and candidly, I could identify problems all day long. I needed help identifying solutions, seeing things differently. Problem-solving is the hard part. The individuals and teams who brought solutions always stood out.

Next time you identify a problem, I challenge you to consider the many possible ways that the problem can be solved. Think about what resources might be needed. Consider what might need to be re-prioritized so you’re more available to manage the problem. To me, that is taking personal ownership and leadership and it is much more productive and rewarding when you help brainstorm or bring solutions to the table for discussion.

Comments? You can contact me directly via my ExecRanks profile.

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