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!
- 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.
- 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 opportunity – the 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 else – information 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- This is a critical step in creating a situation where leaders, in fact, lead leaders who lead leaders ….
Let’s try changing our focus regarding problems at work.