Don’t Find Faults, Find Fixes

Have you ever been on teams where everyone is only discussing the problems?  Where the air becomes toxic, negative and repulsing to any proactive, positive force?

That’s when a culture of blame and pointing fingers is created…

focus on the solution

When I insist against discussing problems on my teams, I often get this question:  “How can we find fixes, if we don’t find the faults first?  We have to discuss the faults.”

And therein lies the excuse for a team’s negative culture.  People want to focus on the problem rather than focus on the solution.

I recently had a new employee come to me and say that she would like to have an open time during our team meeting to present some problems, to “discuss them” with the team – sounds benign and healthy, doesn’t it?

I said, “No.  We will not discuss problems.  We will discuss solutions.”  As she gave me a perplexed look I said, “I love the fact that you want to address problems.  Bring the problems and possible solutions that you propose to me, and then we will introduce them to discuss the ‘solutions to the problems’ and not the ‘problems.’”

That employee still did not understand.  She was so used to having an open floor to ramble on discussing problems.  As the leader, you have to stand firm to not allow this, or else your team’s culture will slide into the abyss!  Trust me, I know from experience.

Think about it:  How intelligent, experienced, or wise does a person have to be to simply find a fault, mistake, or a problem?

Not very.  Anyone can do it – and most of us do!  I can take any average performing high school freshman and have him or her observe a general process – and he or she will probably identify the problems quickly.

Now, how intelligent, experienced, or wise does a person have to be to find solutions to a problem?  How about to lead others to see it through?

Very!

While stating a problem is the first step for a solution, stating a problem as the only step does not solve the issue even it feels like we are solving it.

So remember to always teach and train your team (and always remind yourself) to focus on solutions to problems, and not the problems themselves.

Find (and discuss) fixes, not faults.

Your Friend,
Wes Saade MD Signature

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