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Finding workplace solutions that actually work

May 20, 2021
Rethinking your approach to solving problems in your workplace can be as simple as these 10 key steps you can start today.

“We don’t have team meetings, they never work, we talk about the same things over and over and meetings are a waste of time.”

This sounds familiar, right? Everyone has problems to solve. The key in finding solutions that work is your willingness to think positively and change your perspective.

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a dental coach is guiding teams through the problem-solving steps to find new solutions that actually work. Brainstorming is an important free-flowing activity that allows for all potential ideas to be heard. It is extremely rewarding when we start putting the right plans in place.

In this article I will teach you how to find the right solutions that will work for you and your team. You can even start today.

Negative thinking equals negative outcomes

The word “problem” has a negative feel. When we hear that word, we tend to start thinking about all the potential issues first. Negative thinking equals negative outcomes. Positive thinking is contagious, and that is why I call problem solving finding solutions. Positive thinking does not start with phrase such as, “This problem is too huge, this always happens to me, and this problem will never go away.”  

The first step is changing your perspective and thinking positively is seeing a problem as temporary and as an opportunity learn and grow, not only personally but as a team too. Your perspective has the power to defeat you or propel you forward.  Positive thinking starts with you.

The next step in finding solutions is to discover what the actual problem is—simply put, we have to start with the right issue. This seems easy, but it can be more challenging than you think.

Teams usually tell me, “Communication is a problem,” and I call this umbrella thinking. Imagine communication as the large umbrella, and everything about communication is under it. That umbrella does not give me a starting point to finding the right solution. I would not know where to start and this would result in a failed attempt to solve their communication problem.

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I encourage teams to “dig deep” asking what the details are under the umbrella. For example, are the issues between the business and clinical teams, among departments, person to person, or with patients? Once we have the right and specific details, the process of finding the solution can begin.

A step-by-step guide to finding the right solutions

  1. Get under the “umbrella.” Have you identified the right issue to solve?
  2. Brainstorming is the best way to work together as a team. List all the ideas that could lead to the solution. Circle the ideas that could work and save to list to refer to.
  3. Select the top two ideas and write the pros and cons of each. Think about all the potential outcomes (positive and negative) for each solution.
  4. Pick the solution that everyone agrees on and put the plan into action, then get started.
  5. Time out! Give the solution time to work. If the solution is not working, stop and restart. You might not have solved the right issue, or you need to adjust the steps. Do not be afraid to call the time out, more stress is caused when we keep doing something that doesn't work.

Five key factors in remembering how to successfully find solutions

  1. Some problems take time to solve. A fast solution is not always the right one.
  2. Think outside of the box. Try something new and have confidence
  3. Do not become a “yes” person. Disagreeing is part of the brainstorming process.
  4. The solution does not always work the first time.
  5. Be willing to hear everyone’s ideas even if you do not agree with them.

Thomas Edison wrote, “I have not failed. I have found 10,000 ways that do not work.” It is important to remember that finding solutions are not always easy. Give your solution the time it deserves before giving up. If you are willing to change your prospective, think positively, and look for the opportunities instead of the setbacks, then you can be successful in finding solutions that work.