There should be a rule that says, ‘What ever can go wrong, will go wrong”

Some days, this seems to be the way work goes!


Focusing on Problems as Opportunities!

  • I deliver a lot of training on problem solving techniques.
  • I now adjust this training to focus more on opportunity seeking techniques.
  • The process is the same, but if all you focus on are problems, the world can seem like a very dreary, difficult place.
  • A problem is the difference between what you want something to be and what exists.

Its All A Matter of Attitude

  • So, really, this is a matter of focus and attitude.
  • If people focus on what is wrong with the current situation they can get depressed. A depressed attitude does not inspire creativity.
  • Instead, if we focus on what “could be” we begin to look at opportunities. Opportunity seekers are more creative.
  • When we combine an opportunity seeking attitude with a brainpower approach we can achieve monumental gains in productivity.

Here are the steps involved in effective “opportunity seeking:”

  • Define the opportunitythe difference between “what is” and “what could be.”
  • Gather as much information as possible on the current situation and on what is possible.
  • Facts are data that can be verified by someone elseinformation is data (facts) organized to assist in resolving a problem or pursuing an opportunity.
  • Determine the alternatives to creating what is possible.
  • Determine the criteria for choosing an alternative (cost, ease of implementation, impact and so on).
  • Make a decision (choose an alternative) – develop an action plan.
  • Implement the decision.
  • Evaluate the decision – has the opportunity been fully exploited? Repeat the process if it hasn’t.

Hard to Argue with Something You Created!

  • Involving all the people affected by the opportunity brings many benefits (use people’s representatives if a lot of people are affected).
  • It ensures better fact gathering and information generation.
  • People are much more committed to the actions necessary to make something happen when they had a hand in creating it.
  • Lastly, if people get into the “opportunity seeking” habit, they are more likely to keep looking for opportunities.

Leaders Should ‘Model’ Opportunity Seeking Behaviour

  • The old line is leaders should “walk the talk“, which means they should practice what they preach or set a good example.
  • There is no better opportunity for a leader to set a positive example than opportunity seeking.
  • If, even in the most desperate circumstances, leaders look for the opportunities (rather than the problems) they are providing reinforcement for others in the organization to do the same.

Yes, things can go wrong at work!
However, if we approach these as opportunities to involve people and look for improvement, we can accomplish fantastic things.


Let’s try changing our focus regarding problems at work.