April 9, 2015

Problems and solutions


“Don’t bring me problems.” 

If you’re blindsided by an avoidable problem, how would you feel finding out that your people knew about it before it hit you, but didn’t tell you? (Or worse, that you knew about the problem but avoided thinking about anything so negative.) Get problems out in the open.

“Bring me all problems.”

Know what’s going on, but leaders who insist they’re in on every loop tend to stifle creativity and tie everyone up in knots dancing around a single point of reference. Give people the space to work out solutions.

“Bring me solutions.” 

The idea that staff vacuum-pack problems in a solution sandwich is pretty compelling. What could be better than self sufficiency? Insisting people stand alone risks ignoring known answers, poor decisions, solo heroics or a silo mentality. Make sure people work together.

“Let’s work it out?”

Harvest problems from your team, (“What are you working on? What’s in the way?”), suggest connections and short cuts, (“You should talk to …”), encourage red flags, (“Great call! Thanks for raising the issue.”), be willing as a resource, (“How can I help?”), dig in if you have to, (“Let’s work it out, together.”).

Problems solving is one of the keys to the kingdom. Know how to turn it and remember the biggest doors only open when everyone pushes together.

Skippy Strategy: Forget macho management blustering. Find the problems and work out the best way to push.