“Our problems today cannot be solved with the same level of thinking with which they were created” - Albert Einstein
Taking Albert Einstein’s advice it seems we have to make a shift in our thinking as leaders to come up with solutions to the pressing problems we face today.
This means your leadership effectiveness depends on your ability to put in a fair measure of intellectual effort to raise the level of your thinking to meet the demands of the world we live in. We unfortunately very often become lazy in our thinking. We get comfortable thinking on a certain level where we had success, previously coming up with a solution to a previous problem.
The risk in stagnating in your level of thinking lies in the sacrifice of creativity you make. Creative thinking thrives on energy and new thoughts. It presupposes a different and higher level of thinking. Creativity and solution orientated thinking goes hand in hand.
Solution thinking therefore requires you to elevate your level of thought. While drawing on creativity to find solutions, your leadership effectiveness depends on your ability think on a higher level. Leaders practicing solution thinking do not find themselves blinded by the problem or challenge they face.
Leadership Effectiveness Depends on a Change in Perspective
“When you change the way you look at things the things you look at change.” – Albert Einstein
Solution thinking leaders change their perspective often. If you focus on creatively solving a problem, you do not get stuck in your current paradigm. This means you are not blind to other, and sometimes different, ways to solving the problem.
By changing the way you think, you change the way you look at situations and problems. When this happens the things you look at starts to change and you can see new and different approach angles to a specific problem.
This raises your level of thinking and enables you to come up with solutions on a higher level, which in turn increase your leadership effectiveness. By adjusting your thinking pattern, you can find a solution to most problems in life.
The question is: “How do you practically change the way you think in order to solve a problem?”
There are three ways you can change your thinking about problems to assist you in raising your level of thinking and your leadership effectiveness.
Problems Are a Matter of Perspective
If you believe something is a problem, then it is. Obstacles, setbacks and failures are simply part of life. Focus to see them for what they are;
An obstacle to overcome, not a problem to solve;
A setback to recover from, not a debilitating problem;
A failure to learn from, not a problem to manage.
Meeting life’s challenges with a solution orientated mind-set enables you to learn from and grow stronger because of challenges, instead of experiencing it as energy sapping problems to be solved.
All Problems Are Solvable
If you want to be solution oriented, then you must be willing to cultivate the attitude – for every problem there is a solution.
Problems either Stop Us or Stretch Us
Depending on how you approach them, problems will either stop you from succeeding or stretch you. When we are stretched we become a better person in the process.
You can become a better solution orientated leader and thinker by following the four R’s:
Refuse. Refuse to give up until you find a solution. Remember all problems are solvable.
Refocus. Refocus your thinking to come up with solutions when you are fresh and clear thinking. Utilize your “best time of the day” – for example, if you are a morning person, use this time to think fresh about issues.
Rethink. Regularly rethink your strategy with the fresh input of ideas and approaches to the problem gathered from your team. Be open to new ideas from other people.
Remember. Remember you do not have to come up with everything yourself. You have a collective genius in the form of your team members at your disposal; make use of them.
“Don’t find fault; find a remedy.” - Henry Ford
Leadership Effectiveness depends on finding solutions. Even though you as the leader do not have to come up with all solutions yourself, you need to cultivate and encourage a solution orientated mind-set in the people you lead.