Problem-solving and change management are very close to one another. I see it in the pattern of behavior where leaders resist change and avoid problem-solving.
Why is this?
It is actually quite easy to pinpoint. Here are two of the reasons.
First, they have never learned how to solve problems.
Second, they correctly assume that solutions imply change.
I recently published a short book called Solving Problems: A Guide To Being A Person of Impact. Yes, it is simply a book on problem-solving. It helps people learn a simple process for solving problems that can be applied in almost any situation. It is based upon my Circle of Impact model of leadership.
In the mid-1990s, I started my consulting practice with the aim of helping leaders strengthen their organizations, with the larger goal of strengthening their local communities. As one project after another came, a pattern began to emerge. Problems presented to me often turned out to be symptoms of more complex problems. These were not isolated incidents. The situations and the kinds of organizations were not similar. Their problems were similar. But more importantly, they were not getting resolved by the way we have all learned to solve problems. For as long as I’ve been working in organizations, the belief has been that the solution is in the problem itself. This approach failed to understand that there is always more going on than the problem itself.
The choice is increasingly clear. In the future, we will either be subjects of change or creators of it. To thrive in a world in transition requires the capacity to see beyond what has become comfortable and secure. We must see the opportunities that are ours through our potential for taking personal initiative.
A key to living in the midst of transition is listening for the signals of opportunities that come with change. Only by being aware of the obstacles and opportunities embedded in change, can we see how to create change that makes a difference that matters.
This is the third of four posts of excerpts from my book, Circle of Impact: Taking Personal Initiative To Ignite Change. These posts are about the transition that I see taking place within organizations in particular, and global society in general. If you or your business is in transition, you may find that many of the ideas and tactics that you used to manage change are no longer effective. You need not only a different perspective, but new tools for living in the midst of a global transition of unprecedented proportions.