12 Steps That Make Anything Better
Babies cry. Big boys and girls work to make things better.
The essential ingredient of any real problem is the definition of better.
“A problem only exists if there is a difference between what is actually happening and what you desire to be happening.” Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson, “The New One Minute Manager.”
Dissatisfaction without offering a solution is whining. “Why won’t someone make my world better for me?” Boohoo!
Maybe you should keep a pacifier in your desk?
If you don’t mind getting in someone’s face, you could say, “I’ll work with you. But, I won’t treat you like a baby.”
I’ll work with you, but I won’t solve it for you.
The need to solve people’s problems for them suggests immature leadership.
Leaders who solves people’s problems for them create helpless followers.
Some solutions require authority to change things, for example. Why are you clinging to authority?
Needy leaders need needy followers.
12 steps that make anything better:
- Describe what you don’t like.
- Poor results.
- Strained relationships.
- Wasted resources.
- Determine if it’s worth addressing.
- Describe behaviors that produce what you don’t like.
- Describe solutions.
- What do you want?
- What does better look like?
- How can we make progress?
- What behaviors will make this better?
- Describe behaviors that produce desired results?
- Choose the top one or two behaviors that you believe will make things better.
- Role play the top behaviors.
- Agree to engage in the behaviors that make things better.
- Meet next week to evaluate. “How did we making things better?”
- Celebrate small wins.
- Ask, “What are we learning?”
- Ask, “What will we try next week?”
A problem is just something to whine about, until there’s a solution.
How might teams become solution machines?
What’s essential for successful problem solving?
Leave a comment on, “One Minute to Make a Difference,” to become eligible for one of twenty free copies of, “The New One Minute Manager,” by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson.
The following really make sense to me in this post: Any situation or problem PROBABLY needs a solution. It DEFINITELY needs consideration at a minimum. Whining is ABSOLUTELY inappropriate!!!
As I always suggest in problem solving discussions and workshops: There are occasionally instances where no action is the best alternative!
Thanks John. Yes. Some situations aren’t worth spending any time or resources on them.
Great advice! This is just what I needed. I’m a Group Administrator and work in many departments. I’m also the Gal they call to help fix problems. I’m jumping into a mess next week. I really will need to ‘define better’. I really needed this perspective. Thanks!
Thanks Renee. I find that the question, “What do you want,” really helps. Although sometimes, people don’t know. It might take a little time and work to generate a few imperfect solutions.
If you require the cooperation of someone else to solve the problem, particularly when they are in another organization outside your command structure, then on #4 I would add the following “Explain why solving the problem is important.” I find that in todays working environment, particularly when dealing with younger workers, people increasing have an expectation and need to understand the context of decisions. Even if you get them to perform as you want you may damage relationships long-term if you fail to take this extra step to be inclusive. They may even come up with better solutions if they a part of creating them. (Give a a man a fish or teach a man to fish)
I’m reminded of a quote – “What you permit, you promote”. That said, how will I change what I “permit” to “promote” the working environment I desire.
Your observations re. immature leaders and followers stike a chord with me. I’ve seen this so many times in educational and church contexts. But if I’m honest I can be insecure at times too! Its a real challenge to help others change without being controlling. This staged approach is a really good way to keep controlling behaviours in check.
Very Change-Kata like instruction! I like it.
Thank you! Great post!
Great straight forward, understandable advice! Would love to share this book with my managers!
Thanks for another thought provoking post!
“No problem is so bad that whining about won’t make it worse.”
We need to encourage research instead of giving answers all the time. In a team function answers may be a key component but having one answer questions all the time may discourage participants. My daughter wants to be a Vetinarian when she job shadows they guide her to research in their vast library of books to better understand and later discuss with her after she researches, great way to encourage one to reach for the knowledge.
10.Celebrate small wins.
11.Ask, “What are we learning?”
These seem so very basic. And yet the feedback is most always positive. And usually builds more rapport and trust. Your lessons remind me of the saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher will arrive.” Your students are all ready . . . Thank you!
You know, this reminds of something a pastor once said long time ago: “If you see something that is an irritation or a problem to you, don’t stand around complaining that it isn’ t changing or improving – because you are most likely the only one who saw it. Don’t wait for someone to spot the problem and solve it. You saw the problem, you’re the one that needs the change and improvement, so get up and make those changes yourself.”
I really connected with this method. I particularly liked putting “determine whether it’s worth addressing” at number 2. So many times I have found myself in situations that eat time, but the issue itself is negligible.
Well said..!! If we acting upon in 1 thing that we can make everything better…. Golden words..
I was approached with a complaint today, paused, and then asked, “What are at least 2 possible solutions?” *Crickets* “Why don’t you think about it and get back to me by Tuesday.”
No 10 – so important and so often overlooked, and yet frequently the catalysts to continuous change/improvement.
Also important to spend less time defining the problem (whinging) and more time finding solutions.