Attention Won’t Solve Problems at Work. Intention Will.

Giving problems attention at work only makes them grow

We’ve come to say (and think) that problem-solving starts with giving it attention. The problem with this type of problem-solving is that, instead, it does simply that - draws attention to the problem. And the more attention, the bigger the problem becomes. Intentional problem-solving, by contrast, is the solution-oriented approach that draws attention to the best possible outcomes rather than the problem. Below are some basic steps to get started on the path of intentional problem-solving.

1. Refrain from Witch Hunt

Inertia tells us that finding the guilty ones is step 1 to problem-solving. Punishing them is step 2, of course. Question is: What good does it do to the past or future result? Or the team spirit? Or the company as a whole? You guessed it right: none. Which means that this step can be skipped altogether. Witch hunting doesn’t change the result and kills the initiative in the future. Stop doing it and start punishing those doing it instead.

2. Ask “What Now?”

This is the first step to intentional problem-solving. Face the problem as it is, and focus on asking yourself and your colleagues the “What now?” questions. What can you do now to minimize the damage? What can you do now to boost the team spirit? What can you do now to make sure it doesn’t happen again? This intentional brainstorming stage steers everybody’s attention to the right direction, and allows all employees to start working on the solutions without going through the stages of shock or remorse. Win-win.

3. Play Positive “What If”

Usually, when we play “What If”, we focus on the negative. Gotcha! But, in order to reach constructive solutions, the positive “What If’ game works much better. Getting together with the colleagues to play this game gives plenty of insight into the solutions and boosts the team spirit all at once. So, just dream out loud, and see where the discussion takes you. Moderate it by asking questions, like “What if we still go ahead with X, regardless of Y?” or “What if we change the offer into Z?”. Just take turns to day dream in the positive direction by finishing the simple yet genius sentence “What if...”. We have practical proof that the collective team wisdom can never be overestimated in this game.

So, giving corporate problems attention is “last-year”. XXI c. workplace requires different methods of problem-solving to make mountains move. Approaching the problems with intention rather than attention is one of the easiest and fastest ways to co-create sustainable applicable solutions.

Want to solve your corporate problems intentionally or think your company could benefit from intentional problem-solving workshops? Contact our leading corporate therapist, and let’s talk how and when: