We have heard it said many times…if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.  But what might a focus on solutions look like and feel like?  How can you change your mindset to be more solutions-focused?  I learned a few tips from these coaches this morning at the Scrum Gathering in Barcelona:



State your goal in positive terms:  If you’re serious about improvement, don’t define your goal as “we need to stop doing X.”  Shift to a solutions-focused attitude by asking “What instead?”  What do you want more of?  If you’re not sure, try and define the exact opposite of the problem.

Start from a position of “not knowing.” Questions build bridges, but only if you’re truly curious.  If a question is posed without authentic curiosity, it will come across as arrogant, sarcastic or hostile.  Each individual is the expert on themselves.  You are isolated on the small, barren island of your own assumptions unless you ask lots of questions and keep being curious.

Small steps can lead to big results. For a team working together, especially for the first time, nothing beats a sense that you’re moving together in the right direction.  But how will you know when a step has been taken towards your goal?  How will you mark and share that knowledge?  Recognizing small steps helps to extend and amplify solutions.

Fear versus incentives.  People’s fears reveal what is at stake for them.  On a project, every fear or concern raised by a team member is a clue to an incentive for success.

Consider the consequences.  To test whether you’ve identified the right goal, try living with the consequences. Make sure you take time to consider how it would feel to experience the achievement of that particular thing….what would be likely to happen next?