First of all, we wish you all lots of strength, success and health in these difficult times. We also wish you some luck because an invisible enemy like a virus is counting on statistics. So: as we say here in Belgium these days: stay in your kot (at home), wash your hands and keep your distance.
Many of you are on the front line, others on the second line and each of you will contribute to the best of your ability to tackle this (inter)national health crisis.
We all work in service to people. Some solution oriented insights that might be useful:
Exactly follow the guidelines of the real experts.
Physical health comes first, but our mental health also needs hygiene: limit social media and new statistics to a daily minimum, do not participate in disaster tourism from behind your computer ….
A little scare is useful if you can use it as a resource, don’t panic.
Many -myself included- experience a (slight) mourning for the threatened self-evidence of our existence. Accept this and help others to see it and accept it.
Resilience as the ability to undergo disruptive life events, get through them and learn from them, is now vitally important. Train this skill in the way that best suits your abilities and situation.
The international outbreak of Covid19 for us, the general public, is not a problem but a limitation. The way we deal with this limitation is a problem for which a good solution is thinkable. For the scientists Covid19 is a problem, not for us.
Contact is the motor for change but also the resource for healing. This crisis teaches us that physical distance can be a platform for emotional closeness.
Find together with your beloved loved ones what still works, what gives you a small (and why not: a big) pleasure. A fat book, an hour in the sun, the best bottle of wine instead of cheap wines, a tele-cuddle…
More than ever: HOPE IS TO THE HUMAN MIND WHAT OXYGEN IS TO OUR LUNGS.
Imagine you are in the elevator with your CEO and she gives you three minutes to explain what this solution-focused mumbo-jumbo is all about. This is what you might say. To set the right tone and get her in the mood for what’s coming, you could start by saying:
“Good morning, Mrs. CEO. Thanks for asking me about our solutionfocused project. I’m glad to get a chance to talk to you about it.”
And of course, business comes first, that’s what the CEO is interested in:
“This project is on time and within budget, and this is mainly due to the efficiency of the solution-focused management approach.”
While you look her in the eyes to get her attention, you use a little yesset:
“It also fits very well with our culture. Here at XYZ company, we have always been pragmatic, haven’t we? At XYZ, we aim to get results as fast as possible.”
Now prepare the CEO for the more difficult part while at the same time you reassure her that you are really talking business:
“Well, being pragmatic and achieving the company goals fast and efficiently, that’s what solution-focused working is all about. The extra edge that the solution focus gives us lies in cooperation, the concentration on our strengths, and working on goals rather than spending too much time analyzing problems.
We don’t go searching for the causes behind problems because if you do that, more often than not, you end up with a situation in which you are looking for the person to blame rather than getting the problem solved. Just like when you have a flat tire — you don’t spend too much time trying to find out why it is flat. You get a new tire and try to make sure that it stays inflated.
Concentrating on our strengths enables us to utilize the company’s resources, both the personal resources of our staff and the resources of the company, optimally. To access the personal resources of our staff, we as managers ask them solution-building questions rather than providing them with all the answers. This way, we develop their competency and get customized results.
When a new solution is developed by our staff, we make sure it gets passed around so that everybody in our team and the company as a whole can benefit from the learning. You know the old saying: T.E.A.M. — together everybody achieves more.”
So far this all sounds well and good to the CEO — however, is it credible? It’s time for an example:
“Last week, two of my sales managers were arguing with my project engineer about our new product. They told him that one of the clients complained, not about the quality of the product, but about the difficult technical manual that goes with it. The engineer started defending himself and the sales people kept going at him. Soon they were accusing each other of all kinds of mistakes. In the heat of the argument one of their colleagues came in and got involved in the discussion. He complimented both parties on their commitment to the company and on their efforts todo the best possible for the client. This took away some of the heat of the discussion. He then asked them if they had had similar problems in the past and how they had solved them then. It soon came out that in the past they had solved similar problems by writing an additional “getting started” manual and by putting the engineers in contact with the client to explain all the technical features. The project engineer said that his people would love to do that again, and the sales managers immediately saw a commercial opening towards the client. They agreed to propose this asa new procedure at the coming meeting for the complete team.”
Add a little clarification:
“Our people all encounter problems of some sort. This is perfectly normal, and it comes with business life. Working in a solution-focused way does not mean that we are problem-phobic nor that we are naive optimists. On the contrary, problems are there to be solved. The major difference is that we deal with problems from an entirely different viewpoint. We solution-focused managers see problems as golden signposts to possible solutions. This model offers lots of insights and simple, ready-touse tools to enhance the productivity of our human resources.”
Time to go in for the kill:
“You see, working in a solution-focused way is hugely practical and handson, no mumbo-jumbo involved. It’s about enhancing the ability to create sustainable solutions quickly, and this is essential for economic success. In the end, everybody benefits: our employees, we as managers, and the company as a whole. To put it in one sentence: “Simple works best.”