Friday, July 12, 2013

The Problem with Problem Solving: Day 22 - 30 Day Challenge

A problem solving mindset assumes that something is wrong and needs to be fixed. This approach requires a focus on what we want to eliminate or change. With this type of mindset, we tend to follow mapped out generic steps designed to eliminate “the problem.” The steps include some version of the following: identify the problem, formulate and implement a strategy to solve the problem and monitor and adjust the strategy. On the surface, this approach sounds entirely reasonable, one we are all familiar with and regularly use in our various life domains.
So, what’s the problem with problem solving?
Operating from a problem solving mindset primarily keeps us focused on the past, employing a "moving away from" motivational strategy –moving away from something that doesn’t work and feels unpleasant. Utilizing this strategy, we get to feel bad until the problem is fixed. Unfortunately, the reality of working with a moving away from strategy is that, once the problem is fixed, there is an increased likelihood that similar situations will emerge. A problem solving mindset addresses what isn’t working at a surface level, rather than at a fundamental structural level. It doesn't honor or address what we want to create and bring into the world.
A visionary creative mindset focuses on the question of what we want to bring into existence. Focusing on what we want to create, elicits a "moving toward" motivational strategy – a strategy that generates the requisite positive emotion, energy and creativity to bring something unique into existence. This type of motivational energy in an organizational setting serves to build and strengthen optimal engagement, excitement, creativity, collaborative spirit, team building, perseverance and next level results.
What type of focus will you choose? Will you focus on what is wrong or on what you want to create? Will you embody a "moving away from" problem solving focus or a "moving toward" creative visionary focus? What will you choose?

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