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Practicing Solution-Oriented Thinking

The Clifton Review 


The Clifton Review is a tri-weekly column that examines the question of the Clifton project along with the evolution of the war between two billionaires. We covered the start of this war with articles describing the battle over easement rights, the mysterious burning of a home, the blocks to rebuilding, and countless questionable court filings.

While the 2018 series salutes fashion mogul Peter Nygård’s Golden Jubilee detailing his rags to riches story, his incredible business success over these past fifty years and an inside look at how he did it, The Clifton Review will also continue to address current affairs as they relate to the good of The Bahamas.


Practicing Solution-Oriented Thinking

By P.J. Malone

Having a solution-oriented approach, not just to business but to life, can make a world of difference in the outcomes one hopes to achieve. For the Apollo 13 astronauts, it was a matter of life or death, as we have previously discussed.

For fashion mogul Peter Nygard, it was a matter of suffering during the 2008 recession or surviving and thriving, as we also previously discussed.

There are no drawbacks to using a solution-oriented approach to every situation in your business. The question is, how?

The common advice given in business is to be problem-solvers. However, that is the wrong way to think about. It may be difficult to perceive the difference but let’s dig a little deeper using the Apollo 13 Space Mission example.

Initially, the space engineers at Nasa kept trying to solve the problems that the Astronauts were having in space that were preventing them from returning to earth safely. The engineers were reporting to the chief of that space mission what couldn’t work. 

And that is the challenge with trying to use a problem-solving model. Some problems are near impossible to resolve and could take you in circles forever trying to solve them.

When the chief of that space mission insisted that the engineers stop telling him what can’t work and find a way to bring the astronauts home, it reoriented the engineers thinking.

So, they stopped searching for a solution to the problem and started looking for a way to bring the astronauts home. That meant finding a ‘workaround’ of the problem. In other words, finding ways to achieve the goal despite the reality of the problem.

And that’s the difference! So, here are some steps that can help you practice solution-oriented thinking that can make the world of difference in your business.

  1. Begin with making a choice.

You first of all have to make the decision that this is the approach you want to use in your business. While this may seem inconsequential, it is actually necessary so that your brain can respond accordingly (more on this in an upcoming article). It’s almost as if there is a switch in our brain that we have to turn on to make the shift in our thinking happen.

  1. Decide the end goal and no matter what, steer your thinking in that direction.

In order to work toward anything, you have to know exactly what it is you want. Take the time to craft a goal or the end result that you are seeking. That allows you to steer all of your thinking and activity toward achieving that end result. 

  1. Refuse to focus on the problem and force yourself to focus on a solution.

It’s important to not allow yourself to get distracted on anything else. Because your brain is possibly in the habit of problem-solving, it may keep wanting to take you back to that practice of trying to solve a problem. You must always ensure that you are focused on achieving the solution you seek; otherwise, it’ll be difficult to achieve your desired end result.

  1. Solicit help.

When it comes to looking for solutions to anything, getting help to brainstorm possibilities is always far more advantageous than trying to do it alone. Invite friends, family, or colleagues to assist you with finding solutions. As long as they care about you, they will be invested in helping you find a solution. Be sure to only communicate the goal and not the problem.

  1. Test your solution and go back to the drawing board if necessary.

Once you have come up with a solution, put it to the test, if possible, to make sure that it can actually achieve your desired goal. If not, go back to finding a way to get to your end result.

The more you practice, the easier you will find it to always focus on solution-oriented thinking.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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