Problem-Solving Leaders–What Are You Missing?

Problem-Solving Leaders–What Are You Missing?

Stop solving problems. Look ahead instead, and leap into greater success

Leaders who consult with me often arrive feeling frustrated and stuck. They are on well-trodden ground, trying to solve the same problems over and over, managing conflicts and trying to shore up flagging morale among employees. They think their teams should be making more progress. Whatever the leader’s specific concerns, their traditional approach is not achieving the results they want to see.

The issue these leaders have is not their problem-solving skills. They are just focusing on the wrong things. To put an end to negative cycles, you need to stop rehashing the same old problems and stop settling for incremental change. To make a leap forward, you need a paradigm shift.

In the words of Albert Einstein: “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” Change your mindset and try something radically different – and effective.

Making the leap: Is your organization ready for a paradigm shift?

The problem with traditional leadership approaches is that they tend to fixate on the negative. People are looking back to identify what’s wrong so it can be “fixed”—and often a hefty amount of blame gets assigned along the way. Success comes when you move beyond this deficit mindset. Instead, focusing on people’s strengths and acting in ways that generates trust leverages the benefits of positive psychology and true collaboration. People who have the support they need from leaders become more open and creative in their thinking, leading to better business results.

Recently I coached a team who held high standards and always received accolades for their technical results. Fairly risk-averse and focused on compliance, this may not be a group you would define as natural change agents. Yet, when the organization began making major technological shifts, this team decided to become “inspiring ambassadors of change.” They made it their mission to lead the change and show their colleagues that everything would be okay—better, even!  And, indeed, they have!

You and your team can create your own paradigm shift. You can’t adopt someone else’s culture, but you can decide on your purpose and your destination. You can apply the lessons learned from your organization’s greatest moments to generate momentum. Is your organization ready to take the leap?

Let go of the status quo and imagine where you want to land

Consider this: When you are solving problems, it is because something is broken. Your focus is on just getting back to the status quo—acceptable results. Ho-hum.

If you were instead to take a generative approach, you move beyond the problems, let go of the old acceptable status quo and into new, transformative possibilities you have not yet imagined. And imagining the possibilities is literally what you must do to make this shift. Unshackle yourself from what IS to envision what WILL BE by building on peak experiences and new ideas of your team.  Every organization has something working well to build on.

What is your team’s big, audacious goal? With a clear idea of where your team is going, you can map out a plan to get there and decide how to sustain it. And with this sustained focus, your positive vision for the future comes true. What you focus on becomes your reality.

This is how the magic happens. You create an environment that brings out the best in people. You energize people by building on existing strengths, and they collaborate in pursuit of a compelling and challenging vision. Teams and organizations of any size can successfully use this approach to achieve concrete gains. But they need a leader who can help them see the big picture.

Do you have what it takes to make the leap?

Like anything truly valuable, a generative approach takes deliberate effort. And it takes a leader who can honestly answer “yes” to these questions:

  • Are you willing to dream big and can you accept change?
  • Are you open to receiving the wisdom of the group and acting on it?
  • Can you let go of old problems and stop placing blame for past mistakes?

You are ready to use this positive approach at your workplace if you want to…

  • achieve your organization’s goals while sustaining a legacy of positive leadership.
  • create a magnetic culture at your workplace—one that attracts talented and productive people and keeps them there.
  • stop settling for status quo and instead reimagine your organization into greatness.

If you are ready to make a paradigm shift to reach your ideal vision, we can help you build a structured approach to get there. With the coaching and strengths-based tools Integrated Success offers, your leap into greatness can happen much faster than you might think.

Yours in success,


Linda is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Integrated Success HR Consulting & Coaching.  She is a Gallup-certified Strengths Coach, certified Appreciative Inquiry facilitator, and a leader in strengths-focused development. Integrated Success works with organizations in developing effective teams and human resources practices to bring out the best of individuals for their own success and that of the organization. That’s why we say Integrated Success is the engine behind individuals and organizations thriving!