Recently we were working with a group of high performers and they were developing their Team Innovation Map. This is a map of their perfect vision of their team if they had all of the energy, resilience, brain power, and capacity they are capable of. It focuses on the benefits (individual, team, organization, customer, and brand) that achieving this vision would create. Most important, it also develops key actions the individuals and team need to do for their collective Mindset, Nutrition, Movement, and Recovery to achieve their vision. I have led these discussions with many high performing teams and I am always surprised at one issue that consistently comes up. This issue is the ability of the team to solve problems without the direct inclusion of the boss.
I find, that no matter how talented or qualified executives are, they often fall into the problem focused mindset trap. This means they create a list of their problems, they set an appointment to meet with the boss, and then they go through their list of problems waiting for the infinite wisdom of the leader to help solve them. Their are many problems with this. First, it paralyzes timely problem solving. Second, it prevents the person from using their creativity and empowerment to create new innovative solutions. Third, it creates a stress response from the boss because their day is invariably full of everyone’s problems rather than great solutions (the exact thing most executives are being paid to create). Fourth, it destroys the evolution of problem solvers that every business and leadership team relies on to become great.
In our Mindset sessions we talk a lot about how important it is to consciously choose what you focus on. After coaching many CEO’s and top executives, I can confidently share that developing a Solution Focused Mindset is critical. Most CEO’s and leaders (certainly the best ones) would love for meetings to be full of discussing the array of solutions that his or her best thinkers have developed. They would love to embark in spirited discussions that challenge the outcomes and what-ifs that each solution would generate if it were implemented. Even more important they would love the breath of fresh air of being in the loop rather than being the entire loop. Leadership and problem solving is a Mindset and it requires purposeful practice to improve.
I’d love to hear what you think.
By Scott Peltin
Founder & Chief Performance Officer