Why Having A Solution-Driven Mindset Helps You Thrive At Work
“Life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.” This famous quote rings in my head as I begin to weigh the manifold benefits of having a solution-driven mindset, especially in our workplace. But what exactly is a solution-driven mindset and how does it differentiate from its antithesis, a problem-focused mindset?
The latter is relatively easier to execute. It is human nature to point out problems, hyper-focus on obstacles, and play out on every possible worst-case scenario. As important as it is to spot problems, spending too much mental energy on negative aspects of a situation often emanates more issues and subsequently demoralizes the spirits of the team.
The truth of the matter is, there is no such thing as a problem-free work environment. The key is to rise above them and have a mindset of a victor. A solution-oriented mindset is a framework that proactively finds solutions to problems rather than looking for excuses or avoiding issues. As we dive deeper, let’s first refrain from boxing ourselves into an either/or mentality with these two categories. Instead, let’s view our progress as a scale and a solution-oriented mindset as our goal. With this perspective, there is always room for growth. Here are a few keys to cultivating a solution-oriented mindset.
1. Key: Think win-win!
Win-win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit in every situation. This is essential in boosting team morale and maintaining a laser focus on effective problem-solving. In thinking win-win, the two essential components to strive for are objectivity and teamwork. Objectivity keeps us open-minded and grants us the clarity to see things without the lenses of self-preservation.
If we hold on to our personal pride and ego, we slip into a win-lose mentality where we start pointing fingers at one another and playing the blame game. On the contrary, spending our energy in a collaborative effort pushes the boundaries of creative problem-solving.
Alone, we can do so little but together we achieve more! In times of stress, let us push back our natural tendency to blame shift and recentre ourselves to the right frame of mind. It’s teamwork that makes the dream work!
2. Key: Be firm on the vision, but flexible on the details
Once we’ve recentred our minds, we are geared up to bring our best solutions to the table. As solution-oriented problem solvers, we need to be clear about our goals but be flexible in the process of achieving them. At times, even with the best game plan at hand, the situation doesn’t work out as anticipated. Our first draft may not yield the best results.
Fret not! Often, brainstorming session includes the succession of different ideas. Rather than thinking of it as a failure and giving up, think of it as a way of discovering what doesn’t work. To achieve this, we are to remove all personal pride and emotional attachment out of the equation. Then, navigating and being adaptable to the situation at hand becomes easier. Solution-oriented solvers can drop an idea when it doesn’t work and re-evaluate their progress constantly. Remember, when plan A fails, there are 25 more letters!
3. Key: Strategize and ask the right questions!
In our work, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when we try to tackle all the issues at once. We may even be tempted to slide into a defeatist attitude of “Why is this happening to me?”, consequently falling down a rabbit hole of despair. To counter it, break down the issues into multiple pieces and address them one by one. Once you’ve identified them, formulate an effective stratagem to tackle them. Let’s stay objective and focus on the facts!
- What is our goal or vision for this project?
- What is stopping us from reaching our goals?
- The kind of steps can be taken to bring us closer to our goals?
Gather as much information as you can and start brainstorming with your team!
4. Key: Reflect and Review
Winston Churchill once said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” This highlights the importance of reflecting and reviewing in developing a solution-driven mindset. Once we have executed our plans, follow up by celebrating our wins and learning from our experiences.
By celebrating small victories, we are acknowledging what went right to further build upon it. This boosts team morale and generates new creative ideas in the process!
Next, learning from our mistakes is also key to approaching challenges constructively. To err is human and there’s always room for growth, especially when we try new things. By reframing our mistakes as learning opportunities, we turn them into stepping stones for success. With this new perspective, we also train ourselves to be more objective! This provides opportunities for creativity and innovation.
Let’s ask ourselves:
- What aspects went well?
- What aspects can we improve on?
This habit can be cultivated within the team, with a colleague, or as a self-reflection tool to better ourselves!
Cultivating a solution-oriented mindset is a process. Like many other positive mindsets and good habits, it takes time, discipline, and practice. For all we know, Rome wasn’t built in a day! As long as we are heading in the right direction, I encourage you to celebrate every milestone of growth! Remember, there’s always an opportunity in every crisis. Challenges are learning opportunities that strengthen the GRIT in us! You are in control of your life and the strength is in you to rise above!
If you’re interested in cultivating and embracing more challenges at your workplace, check out this article on Why It Is Important to Embrace New Challenges At Your Workplace.