John Maxwell Team

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Priscilla Archangel is a John Maxwell Team Certified Coach, Teacher and Speaker.

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    Six Steps to Collaborative Problem Solving

    Win-win written on papers.Many years ago, when I began my career in human resources, a colleague gave me a piece of valuable advice. He told me that when working with our business partners, I should avoid being a “no” person, but instead find ways to say “yes.”

    Now, you must understand the context of this conversation. There were times when our business partners would make what I call “end” requests. That means when the business partner had a problem, they decided what action needed to be taken, then came to us and told us what to do. Obviously, in our humble yet expert opinion, their solution wasn’t the appropriate way to resolve the issue. Our partners weren’t necessarily trying to be difficult, or to violate policies or procedures, they simply wanted a quick resolution that fit their expectations. As HR professionals, the temptation for us, at least periodically, was to take charge of the situation and to do the proper thing. But the better result always included collaborating with them in understanding how to assess the problem and in finding the best solution. Continue reading

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    Ideation Space

    Cheng-Yung Kuo Photography / Courtesy Ideation Studio

    Cheng-Yung Kuo Photography / Courtesy Ideation Studio

    Ideation space. The optimal environment where you form ideas or thoughts, where dreams crystalize, desires are birthed, problems are solved, and creativity blossoms. A place where your senses are heightened as you connect deeply with your inner motivations and interests, and block out external distractions. Purposefully spending time in this space requires disconnecting from the daily demands of the urgent and immediate, to connect with the important and meaningful. It involves moving from the emotions of the moment, to reflecting on the underlying values and beliefs that govern your life. Time spent in your ideation space can rejuvenate you to become more productive, focused, and innovative. Continue reading

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    Solve A Problem

    Kevin Plank recognized a problem.  As a football player at the University of Maryland, he became increasingly focused on the fact that after they played, the cotton t-shirts worn by the players under their pads were constantly soaked with perspiration. Kevin felt that the weight of the shirts negatively impacted their performance on the field.  Already an entrepreneurial hustler on campus, Kevin decided to find a way to develop a shirt that would draw moisture away from the body.  He started with a synthetic fabric made from women’s undergarments, and a friend joined him in marketing their product to sports teams and retailers. His brashness, creativity and pure hustle paid off, and they were eventually able to sign well known endorsers. Today, his company, Under Armour has a full line of athletic clothes, undergarments and shoes for men and women. They went Man writing the word "problem", crossing it out and writing the word "solution"from their first big sale in 1996 to becoming a publicly traded company in 2005, and their 2012 second quarter apparel net revenues increased 23% to $253 million compared with $205 million in the same period of the prior year. (Click here to read the full story by Monte Burke in the September issue of ForbesLife.)

     

    Plank’s solution to a problem became his key to success. Problems are all around us every day. The question is whether we recognize situations around us as “problems”, and what do we do about it. This requires attention to our surroundings and issues, and a willingness to own a role in developing a solution.


     

    A Peanut and a Sweet Potato

    George Washington Carver is a perfect example of this. According to Os Hillman in his book Change Agent: Engaging Your Passion To Be The One Who Makes A Difference,(p. 104) Carver lived in an era of pervasive racial discrimination when he encouraged southern farmers to plant peanuts and sweet potatoes because their land was depleted due to planting too many cotton crops. They initially criticized him for this suggestion, believing that the market wouldn’t support it, but nonetheless began to do so.  Carver, a Christian from an early age, would get up in the morning and go out to the fields where he sought the wisdom of God on what to do with these crops. God obviously answered his prayer because he subsequently created three hundred products from the peanut, and one hundred from the sweet potato. This revitalized the economy in the south, and made him a friend and confidante to presidents and business leaders. Why? Because they recognized that he was a problem solver. He had the ability to recognize problems where others overlooked them.  Then he was willing to own the problem and take on the challenge of addressing it.  Finally he had the vision and creativity to develop and implement a solution.

    Your Personal Problem

    Unfortunately too many of us look past the problems surrounding us with the attitude that we have no ability to impact or address them. We feel powerless and incapable of coming up with a solution, and look to someone else to handle it. But there’s nothing special about Kevin Plank or George Washington Carver. They simply opened their minds to future possibilities, and didn’t let their circumstances limit them. Both had a vision to see a problem situation and identify a potential resolution for it. They didn’t blame others around them for these problems; they stepped up and took responsibility for the solutions. Individuals who demonstrate this skillset are valuable members of any team

    Each of us has a problem or set of problems assigned to us from God that we are uniquely equipped to solve. God is exposing the problem to us, and drawing us to Him so that He can reveal the solution. Based on our instincts, interests and initiative we can be a change agent in our environment. Joseph demonstrated this capability in ancient Egypt when he interpreted the King’s dream of the coming seven years of plenty, followed by seven years of famine. Then he provided a proposal on how to prepare for the famine. He was instantly appointed second in command in the kingdom. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have used their billions in assets to address global issues of hunger, poverty, education and health care. Every problem solver won’t reach the same number of people, but every problem needs to be addressed.

    So what problems has God assigned to you? Be diligent in discovering them because solving them is your pathway to your purpose and your road to success.

    Recommended Reading:

    Hillman, Os. Change Agent: Engaging Your Passion To Be The One Who Makes A Difference. Lake Mary, Charisma House, 2011.

    Copyright 2012 Priscilla Archangel

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