“What are some of the obstacles that get in the way of everyone in your organization "walking their talk"? Can you make a list of those obstacles? Are there things on your list that you could do something about? Which obstacles are within your control to overcome or remove, and which obstacles are outside your influence?” ~Eric Harvey
These are great questions posed by Eric Harvey, they challenge us to consider where we are spending our time, energy and resources- on what we can control, or what is out of our control and influence?
As a consultant and facilitator I often see organizations spending time on removing the obstacles that they are unable to influence or change, instead of seeking ways to go around, through or over the obstacle.
This process of focusing on the obstacle often results in the blame game, comparing of the then and now, and feeling helpless. Organizations who identify the obstacle then focus their expertise on how to work around the obstacle tend to be more solution focused, and move more effectively to innovative solution finding.
Some strategies to deal with the obstacles that get in the way, consider the following:
- What is within your control?
- What can you influence (but not control)?
- Is it really an obstacle, or, is it just your perception?
- What action can you take to bring about a positive outcome?
- What can you learn from the situation to apply in future?
Sometimes obstacles seem to take teams back to the past, and some groups stay firmly rooted in the past. To help move teams out of the past and into the future, solution focused thinking, you can ask:
- What does that situation have to do with our current day challenge?
- What did we/you learn from that situation that can be implemented as a strategy this time around?
- What suggestions do you have for a different result?
- What are you committed to do in finding a solution?
I see time and time again, when the team is engaged in building the solution, the ideas are often far more creative, potential pinch points are identified earlier on, and there is more investment to the solution because the team has helped create it.