How to Solve People-Problems Pt. 2

Behaviors, not theories, solve people-problems.

This is part-two of, “How to Solve People Problems.” Scan part-one here.

imperfect progress today is better than perfect progress tomorrow

How to solve people-problems:

Let’s focus on the people-problem of low morale.

#1. Positive before negative:

Describe high morale.

#2. Negative after positive:

Describe behaviors that create and sustain low morale – behaviors to stop.

#3. Imperfect progress not theory:

Imperfect progress today is better than “perfect” progress tomorrow.

What specifically will you do this morning that takes a bite out of low morale? It has to be seen or heard in order to matter. Try:

Positive orientation:

You’re not solving low morale, you’re building positive morale.

Short-term vision:

At your next management meeting discuss and identify a short-term vision. For example, Create an environment where people love coming to work.

Setup imperfect progress:

Take fifteen minutes with your team to identify simple, imperfect, morale building behaviors. Choose something you can implement this morning. Try this:


Have at least two “five-minute-morale-building conversations” a day, until next week’s management meeting.

Practice the behavior:

Outline and practice the five-minute-morale-building conversation with each other. For example:

“Hi Bob, I think we get so busy that we forget what makes us feel good about our work. Solving problems makes me forget that I enjoy solving problems.”

“What about you Bob? What makes you feel good about your work?”


Ask a follow-up.


“I enjoyed hearing what makes you feel good about your work. Let’s stay in touch. Have a great day.”

#4. Accountability

Let everyone know that next week’s management meeting begins with four questions.

  1. Who did you talk with?
  2. What did you learn?
  3. How might you do it better next time?
  4. What are we doing this week to build morale?


Don’t try this if you don’t care for your teammates.

How might you add to or expand the four-step model of solving people problems?