,

How to take a solution-oriented approach to resolving problems

 

Employees expect leaders to solve problems both big and small. But a leader’s attention will be focused on issues of significance (financial crises, unexpected mergers, and acquisitions), which means medium-sized problems are often put aside, to return later with a vengeance! As Noble Peace Prize winner and former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said, “All too frequently a problem evaded is a crisis invited”.

Great leaders don’t play the blame game. Instead they use a “solution-oriented” approach to resolve problems.

They use the why lens. Highly respected leaders only solve problems within their control. Ones connected to their biggest why. They consider problems from a fundamental point of view.
They ask:
• Is this our problem?
• Why should we solve this problem?
• What happens if we don’t?
• How would the solution contribute to accomplishing our most important goals?
Once they have answers, they explore solutions. Around 2013- personally experienced- Royal Philips in Amsterdam noticed the lighting market was stagnating. CEO Frans van Houten asked those types of questions. Armed with the answers, he concluded it would not make sense for Philips to continue with lighting. Philips now focuses on healthcare technology. By approaching problems through the why lens, van Houten was able to change the direction of the company and keep it operable. A clear benefit of applying solution-oriented problem solving.

They are inspired by problems. Without problems, a business will lose its fire, passion, and dynamism. While many leaders perceive problems as distracters, first-class leaders embrace problems as opportunities to make breakthroughs. Leaders know that if they are unable to solve the problem their competitors will, pushing them out of the market.
Problems fuel great leaders, providing opportunities to learn and grow to the next level. Great leaders don’t say, “Why me?” or “Why now?”. They say, “Try me” or “Let’s make the most of it.”. The greater the problem, the hungrier they are for a solution. Leaders like Richard Branson, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates view problems as golden opportunities to disrupt the market and revolutionize the customer experience.

They openly admit there is a problem. Great leaders acknowledge there is a problem and demonstrate the severity of the problem and the benefit of the solution to stakeholders, partners, and shareholders. By establishing an open environment, great leaders avoid creating silos. This way, the leader not only takes responsibility for making the problem transparent, they explore different dimensions of the problem, consequently benefiting from others’ ideas.

They separate problems from people. Great leaders keep asking questions until they understand the issue. A clear understanding of a problem delivers two-thirds of the solution. When people attribute blame, highly qualified leaders focus on the problem at hand, keeping emotions controlled. By doing so, they can approach the situation fairly and find a suitable solution.

They have a plan. Great leaders do not guess. They identify the core of the problem, forecast scenarios, and produce backup plans before formulating and sharing with stakeholders. This creates the trust and commitment necessary for implementation. They assess actions and adjust whenever necessary. By analyzing, they focus on the easiest implementation route and work around any blocks standing in the way.
Top leaders make sure their organization stands steady when in crisis. They create a thorough problem-solving process. Great leaders avoid panic at all costs. They remain cool and retain a sense of humor. They know if they panic, their team members will lose hope and motivation.

They engage those affected by the problem. Those who have a stake in the problem and the relevant solution often know the most. Solution-oriented leaders listen to the needs and concerns of all involved parties. When respected by the majority, leaders have buy-in and are able to focus on solutions. This caring attitude helps them build great relationships. When the relationship is good, people are prepared to walk that extra mile for their leaders.
Great leaders create an environment where team members can freely share their views without feeling insecure about their position. It is the leader’s responsibility to guarantee freedom to speak up without fear of negative consequences.

They don’t point fingers. Great leaders know that finger pointing does not solve problems. It only adds new ones. It makes employees singled out feel broken, guilty, and belittled. Instead of blaming anyone, the leader starts problem solving by narrowing down the issue. When the problem has been addressed, and potentially solved, they ask their team members what they learned from the experience and how they can improve vulnerable areas.

Now examine how you approach problems. What are the first things you do when you encounter a severe problem? What can you take away from the above to ensure your future approach to problem solving is more solution-oriented?

What do you think?
Would you agree or disagree with the above? Please share your thoughts and let’s learn from the way you approach your problems. Thank you!

You want more?
Follow me for more on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
The above blog is an adjusted excerpt from First-Class Leadership book that is available via all major book sellers such as Amazon, Google Books, Managementboek.nl, Bol.com, author’s website, and many local bookstores.

 

Originally published on Thrive Global

—————————————————-
About the author

Best known for mentoring on leadership and personal development, Hamid Safaei is a bestselling author and certified executive coach who helps leaders, senior managers, and budding entrepreneurs overcome their fears: Fear of being found to be incompetent, fear of failure, fear of losing everything, fear of losing beloved ones, and so on.

Hamid is passionate about helping both individuals and teams to always be at their best. He has led successful business transformations for a number of Fortune Global 500 companies. 
His passion is to create a better world by and with better leaders.

,

You lead based on your attitude: the way you approach your people

 

Attitude is a choice
The New Oxford American Dictionary defines attitude as “a settled way of thinking or feeling about something.” This is pretty much how I define attitude. It is a conscious choice. Based on our attitude, we decide how to approach people and situations. We choose our attitude based on our knowledge, calculations, wisdom, situations, actions, reactions, and our experiences.
Attitude is simply how we look at life and the world around us. Do you see life as something meaningful, full of joy, excitement, and challenges? Or do you see life as something pointless without a happy ending? I have always said your life is how you approach it. If you approach your life as difficult, it becomes difficult, if you take life easy, it becomes easy. The same applies for leaders when they look at their organization, employees, environment, and their future.

The way you approach your people, your environment, your partners, and circumstances is the way you lead.
Leaders who have hope and an enduring vision behave and perform purposefully, and because leadership is all about people, how leaders approach their people is crucial. How about you? Do you see your employees as replaceable machines? Do you see them as money suckers? Or do you view them as team mates with whom you can achieve breakthrough results? The way you approach your people, your environment, your partners, and circumstances is the way you lead. Remember, your attitude is your choice and yours alone.
We cannot control what happens to us, but we can control how to react to it.

Viktor Frankl, the famous Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist, said, “The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedom is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance”. This attitude enabled Frankl to survive the concentration camp and teach us something precious, which is that everything can be taken away from us (positions, properties, wealth, and loved ones), but our attitude can never be taken because we can choose not to allow that. We cannot control what happens to us, but we can control how to react to it.

Great leaders learn to lead themselves before leading anyone or anything else.
How one treats people or situations is a choice, which means we can change it to get the best possible results. William James, a respected American psychologist, said, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes”. This is exactly what first-class leaders do. Highly qualified leaders know that the foundation of leadership is learning to adjust their attitude; they learn to lead themselves before leading anyone or anything else.

Great leaders have mastered certain attitudes to approach people around them, their environment and circumstances. Using positivity, purposefulness, and flexibility, they approach actual trends to get the best out of them for their business. They know they cannot resist or change the inevitable, only how they deal with it. Author Charles Swindoll said it best: “We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. … I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it”.
A leader’s attitude has a lot to do with how they approach developments, think, implement strategies, hire new talents, and face challenges. First-class leaders have the capabilities to survive challenges and make breakthroughs because of their attitude. Attitude has a huge impact.

In chapter two of my recently released book First-Class Leadership I have explored the Common Attitudes of First-Class Leaders that are as follows:

  • First-class leaders remain positive
  • Great leaders are always proactive
  • Great leaders are grateful
  • Great leaders have purpose
  • First-class leaders are risk takers
  • Great leaders are solution-oriented
  • Great leaders are balanced and have a balanced team

*****
You can download (FREE) the first two chapters of First-Class Leadership HERE
First-Class Leadership book is available via all major book sellers such as Amazon, Google Books, Managementboek.nl, Bol.com, author’s website, and many local bookstores. ONLY ON AMAZON: You can claim your kindle version of First-Class Leadership for 2.99 EUR ($3.67) instead of 16 EUR. Soon the price will go up:-)
*****

A moment of reflection
Take a moment of silence and reflect on your attitude.
· Do you see your life as one of purpose?
· Do you happen to things or do things happen to you?
· Do you consider yourself as an ultimate risk taker or a safe player?
· Do you have balance in your life? Do you do what really matters most? If not, do you know why?
Remember, nothing will ever change in your life or business unless you create the environment to change.

What do you think?
Would you agree or disagree with the above? Please share your thoughts and let’s learn from the way you approach your people (they way you lead). Thank you!

You want more?
Follow me for more on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

The above blog is an adjusted excerpt from First-Class Leadership book that is available via all major book sellers such as Amazon, Google Books, Managementboek.nl, Bol.com, author’s website, and many local bookstores.
—————————————————-
About the author
Best known for mentoring on leadership, personal development, and conflict resolution, Hamid Safaei is a certified executive coach who helps leaders, senior managers, and budding entrepreneurs discover and cultivate their potential. He has penned two books: First-Class Leadership and Your Journey to Fulfillment. Hamid is passionate about helping both individuals and teams to always be at their best. He has led successful business transformations for a number of Fortune Global 500 companies. He has developed ImOcean Academy, a unique institute where he applies first-class coaching tools and techniques combined with best practices.

8 simple steps to achieve your goals this year

 

Every year many clients come to me with fascinating goals such as multiplying their income or starting their own business. “What’s the plan?”, I ask. “It’s in my head and I’m hoping you’ll help me figure it out.”, they often answer. Here are 8 steps you can take on your own to achieve your goals this year.

1.      Promote your dream into a goal

Dreams remain dreams if we don’t take certain steps. Your journey starts when you put a date on your dream. For example, “By 31 July 2018, I will have opened my Bed & Breakfast in Amsterdam.” When you do this you create a destination. Now you need a ticket to get there.

2.      Imagine you have achieved your goal

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine you are celebrating your success. It feels amazing, doesn’t it? Now tell yourself that whatever another human being has done in the past has proven to be possible. So, you can do it too. Why not? Give it a go and see how the power of imagination fuels your energy. When you imagine something is possible you are no longer stuck in the circle of impossibility, instead you enter a gear up mood.

 3.      Make every day count

Get up early at the same time each morning. I get up at 6.00 am every day including weekends. This gives me a disciplined structure. Every day that goes by means you have one day less to achieve your goal. So, make sure every day counts. Each morning write your goal on paper noting the most important thing you’re going to achieve that day. Remember, what we achieve at the end of the year is the sum of bits and bytes we have achieved every day.
What we achieve at the end of the year is the sum of bits and bytes we have achieved every day.

4.      Set mini-goals followed by actions

Imagine your goal is to lose 30 pounds by the end of October 2018. Every time you think about 30 pounds it probably seems overwhelming. How on earth am I going to lose 30 pounds? Instead of asking “How?”, focus on your very first mini-goal. How would you feel if you aimed to lose one pound by the end of every week starting next week? It seems doable, doesn’t it? Now write down the easiest actions which will help you lose one pound by the end of this week. For example, “Starting tomorrow, I will exercise 30 minutes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.” You might not be able to swallow a whole cow like an Anaconda can but you can enjoy a well-prepared steak (that is if you’re not vegetarian).

5.      Track your progress

Keep track of your progress digitally or on paper. Imagine that you’re thinking about starting your B&B in Amsterdam. Give it a name. When you name it you connect to it. Call it, for example, Dream Bed & Breakfast. Voila! Next register your domain name on the web. If you can’t do it online, make an appointment with the relevant authorities (e.g. Chamber of Commerce) to register your business. Now tick off what you have done already. See how motivating it is?

6.      Beware of limiting beliefs

An enemy that often gets in the way of our dreams, is our own limiting beliefs. “I can’t”, “I’m not good enough.”, “What if I failed?” and many more limiting beliefs come to our minds unbidden. Challenge your limiting beliefs by asking questions. “How can I be certain I will fail when I haven’t even tried it yet?” “What evidence do I have that I’m not good enough?”
An enemy that often gets in the way of our dreams, is our own limiting beliefs.

7.      Turn “I can’t” into “How can I?”

“I can’t” is one of the fake havens we create for ourselves to hide away from taking action. Change this limiting phrase into “How can I?” This simple transformation moves you from a passive to a resourceful state. You become creative and think of things such as what actions you can take, and who can help you. All of a sudden you hear yourself saying: “I’ll follow that great advice my grandma gave me.”

8.      Never feel too big for your boots

Many successful leaders – presidents, top performers and entrepreneurs – have had mentors and coaches. Bill Clinton, Andre Agassi, and Serena Williams for example. Richard Branson says: “I talk elsewhere about how much the late Sir Freddie Laker’s mentoring did for me with Virgin Atlantic and how greatly his down-to-earth wisdom accrued to my entire approach to business.” When you feel stuck pick up your phone and call a qualified coach. Many of them offer the first consultation for free.
Start today and take the first step of your journey. Before you know it, you will have reached your destination.

Please share if you care
If you liked what you read, would you please share this with your network? This short article may give them that little push they need to make their breakthroughs!

You want more?
Follow me for more on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Ready to rock?
Want to achieve the goal you’ve carried with you your whole life? Here’s your chance. Sign up for the workshop Achieve Your Goals in 2018 with Hamid Safaei (in Amsterdam).

#Personal Development, #Goal-setting, #Leadership
—————————————————-
 About the author
Best known for mentoring on leadership, personal development, and conflict resolution, Hamid Safaei is a certified executive coach who helps leaders, senior managers, and budding entrepreneurs discover and cultivate their potential. He has penned two books: First-Class Leadership and Your Journey to Fulfillment. Hamid is passionate about helping both individuals and teams to always be at their best. He has led successful business transformations for a number of Fortune Global 500 companies. He has developed ImOcean Academy, a unique institute where he applies first-class coaching tools and techniques combined with best practices.