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Catherine Armstong: Helping People Work with People

Is a leader paid to come up with a Quick Fix or Sustainable Solutions?

Recently, a leader told me that whenever one of his staff comes to him with a problem, he expects them to also come with a solution. If they don’t, he thinks of them as whiners. Have you found yourself thinking the same thing or something similar?
Do you put an emphasis on finding quick fixes and taking decisive action?
While the rapid pace of work often forces us to come up with an immediate solution, this approach contradicts the critical need for sustainable solutions.

The complexities of new technology, environmental pressures, and ever changing customer demands require asking profound questions and encouraging strategic conversations on important issues. Knowledge workers need time for reflection to uncover creative solutions and fresh perspectives.

Teams are asked to collaborate on projects and need time, space and training to question current assumptions and raise penetrating questions. True collaboration means that everyone has a voice, a presence and a contribution. Collaboration requires openness and trust. It takes courage to ask a question and admit that ‘I don’t know’.
Is it OK for someone to admit they don’t have the answer in your organization? If we insist that people only speak if they have a solution, are we losing the opportunity to look at problems in new ways and come up with creative solutions?

How can a leader build an organization that asks powerful questions and encourages the development of sustainable solutions?

  • When someone comes with a problem, ask them to think of one important question that needs to be asked.
  • When problem solving, set aside time to explore important questions that will uncover assumptions and develop new perspectives.
  • A coach is a master at asking questions. As you coach your staff, ask questions that will help them think in new ways. If you need more experience in asking powerful questions, work with a coach of your own. Look for a coach that uses questions to access the left and right hemisphere of the brain. This way you will approach challenges and goals with creativity and insight.
  • Join a discussion group of business peers and have strategic discussions on important matters that can help your business thrive. Set up discussion groups within your company and invite members from different departments to ask questions and explore challenges together.

Leaders often believe that they are being paid to fix problems. What is really needed are leaders who can foster breakthrough thinking. The critical challenges we face require diverse perspectives and the ability to ask powerful questions.

Catherine Armstrong draws on her twenty-five years experience as a leader, business owner and manager to create relevant, practical and sustainable strategies that develop leaders and ensure teams work effectively together.

  • Customized workshops on Leadership, Conflict Management and Communication
  • Strategic team discussions to establish goals, solve problems and ask powerful questions
  • Develop strategies and solutions to achieve your business and personal goals, aspirations and dreams using Power Coaching™ with Mind Kinetics ™

For more information, on how Catherine can help your company, please visit our website or call us at 780.443.3697.

Catherine Armstrong © 2010, Newsletter: Clever by Design