Your solution approach to business growth may be the problem
By Leanne Hoagland-Smith March 3, 2013 8:50AM
Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media
Business leaders when confronted with challenges or repetitive issues traditionally take a problem solving approach. And what usually happens is the discovery of more problems creating a business landscape of not just one dug hole, but many.
The problem solving approach is probably rooted in the negatively conditioned behavior of looking for weaknesses and then focusing energies on converting those weaknesses into strengths. Ask any business leader why do winning teams win; is it because of their strengths or because of their weaknesses? We instinctively know the answer to be strengths.
Great leaders like Vince Lombardi did not seek the worse quarterback or linebacker. He was not looking for those with less than excellent skills in passing, receiving and blocking. If he had taken a weakness solution approach, then his record would not have reached the level of success he achieved during this career in professional football.
What would happen if you, as a business leader, considered a different solution approach to solving those perplexing business growth issues?
• Would you have more sustainable results?
• Would you be working more “on” your business instead of “in” the business, as Michael Gerber suggests in his “E-Myths” books?
Possibly a better solution approach is appreciate inquiry or a business growth model approach. One of the major advantages to this mindset, and yes we are talking about changing your thought processes, is the absence of biases.
When a problem approach is embraced, this comes with your innate biases and potentially fails to reveal the additional opportunities or resources available to you. Your biases blind you to sustainable solutions that may be right in front of you.
Appreciative inquiry is simple combination of recognizing the best in people through their past, present and potential strengths and uniting those strengths through an act of exploration and discovery to current business growth initiatives. The result of this perspective or mindset is a positive change in the core of your enterprise by linking the voltage of your enterprise to what is happening well instead of what is not doing well.
When business growth challenges are faced using this solution approach, different outcomes are the result. The energy within your enterprise is truly devoted to overcoming the current hurdle you are facing and not creating more hurdles.
As some have said “the number one rule when you are in a hole is to stop digging.” Traditional problem solving keeps you digging while appreciative inquiry stops that digging and provides a springboard for sustainable business growth.
Next week’s column will look at profits from a different perspective
P.S. Shout Out – Joe’s Firewood of Valparaiso and R.A.L. Landscaping in Schererville provide seasoned wood for those chilly winter and spring nights.