How To Be Part Of The Solution, Not The Problem

Businessman holding a lightbulbYou’ve no doubt heard the expression that we should be part of the solution, not the problem.

And I’m sure we all agree that would be the best way to work.

The question is…how?

How do we change our mindset so that we are facing the solution rather than focusing on the problem?

Here are some ideas as to what we should and shouldn’t do, so that saying becomes reality:

Communicate clearly and completely

We often think we’ve communicated when all we’ve done is sounded off, or sent an email, or agreed to a memo.

To be part of the solution, we need to be clear, succinct, accurate and complete.

Help people understand the emotions, intentions and reasons behind your decisions

People will not see the rationale behind your ideas if they don’t appreciate the purpose of them.

We need to let people know the deep reasoning behind ‘why’ we think we are right.

Keep people involved in projects all along

Don’t expect them to agree to solutions if they aren’t involved.

You need to keep people aware so they can see your workings out, and what the overall position will be

Show the results that will be achieved if they accept your proposal

People are interested in the journey, but only if they know the final destination.

Ensure when you are concentrating on the solution that people can see where you’ve been, where you are now and where you are going.

Get people to buy-into your ideas by showing the future big picture

By selling the big picture, you get people to see why you have gone in the direction you have and they’re more likely to accept your proposals.

Be future-focused, not present-vague

If you concentrate on what ‘is’ you won’t get people to see the solutions clearly.

You need to openly discuss the future.

OK, that’s what we should be doing; how about what we should try to avoid?

Here’s a list of things that will make you concentrate on the problem….don’t do them!

Be a naysayer

This means looking at every possible option from a negative frame of mind and saying ‘that won’t work because…’

Even if you are thinking that, you should consider the option proposed and analyse what would need to change in order for it to have a chance of success.

At least you have then given it a chance!

Interfere with others’ ideas or solutions to make them match your own

You have never, are never and will never be the only person with the right answer!

Be open minded and allow others to come up with possible alternatives

Think there is only one answer to every challenge

You have only one viewpoint from which to look at an issue.

Remember there are other perspectives that you might not have looked at yet.

Become negative in your attitude if you don’t see an immediate answer

There may not be an obvious solution that springs up, but that doesn’t mean that a little bit of incubated thinking isn’t going to resolve it.

It may take hours or even days of thinking it through with your team before you focus on one solution that will work.

Expect to solve every problem that comes your way

It’s possible that you are facing insurmountable issues that simply cannot be solved in the way you are working through it now.

Concentrate on those things that you CAN work towards and review for later those issues causing you massive obstacles

By concentrating on being part of the solution, you open up so many opportunities for you to be in a positive state and to access decision-making skills that wouldn’t be available in a negative frame of mind.

Try the positive ideas above, keep away from the negative ones and see what difference it makes.

Thanks again


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training   

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Updated on: 7 January, 2019

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