When a problem arises, have more solution-focused questions

Recently, I read a great article written by JD Meier. The article focused on asking solution-focused questions. Typically, when dealing with a business issue, we all tend to focus more on what’s wrong and sometimes dwell on how something went wrong. Basically, we go around in circles discussing the “wrong” and get stuck. Instead, let’s rethink how we approach the problem. Why don’t we see the problem a different way. Let’s start the conversation acknowledging the problem, and put more time into figuring out the solution. If we gave as much time figuring out the solution, imagine how many different scenarios could be worked out. Now imagine if you had your team bouncing off ideas for solutions. You would have a lot of solutions to that one problem, right?

Key Take Aways from the article:

• Spend 20 percent on the problem and 80 percent on the solution. Focus attention on the solution. This doesn’t mean ignore understanding the problem. It means, that rather than spending 20% of your energy on the solution and 80% on the problem, spend 80% on the solution and 20% on the problem.
• Stay out of analysis paralysis. Keep moving forward, learning and adapting rather than sitting in analysis paralysis.
• Use questions to get resourceful. By asking solution-focused questions, you switch your mind into a more resourceful state. Your brain suddenly starts drawing on all your resources internally and around you to solve the problem.

By Colleen Murphy
Colleen Murphy Senior Associate Director, Pulsifer Undergraduate Career Development Center Colleen Murphy