8. Solution-Focused Thinking

8.1 Solution-Focused Thinking – When to use it / How to use it

Build your solution focused skills


The first skills for you to master is knowing which type of thinking your solution requires: does your problem need first order change or something more dramatic and big – second or change?

If your problem:

  • Keeps happening and the fixes you put in place don’t work or stick
  • If the solution solves for the immediate problem but creates other challenges further down the road or after some time has passed
  • If the problem is caused by a few factors
  • If there is some benefit to keeping the problem around… what are the benefits of the problem and who is benefiting?

… then you need some solution focused thinking not simple problem solving.


Practical exercises you can do to improve your solution focused thinking?


Have a beginner’s mind

There a certain downside of being an expert. Your knowledge can blind you to novel ideas. If you want to create solution focused thinking you need to be willing to develop a beginner’s mindset.

Focus on the outcome you want

A great questions to ask is, "what does it look like when it is fixed?" When you focus on the outcome and vision for what you are trying to fix, then the solutions you come up with will be different. Start with a clean slate.

Put your outcomes out there. State what is will look like.

Saying what you want to see at the end of the process, making it clear and concise and creating a visual of it (whether that is an actual picture or a goal / outcome statement) helps you to naturally, almost effortlessly move towards them. Having an inspiring, strong, visuals-based vision for the future downsizes other unnecessary concerns.

Think outside the box

Throw out the conventional fixes and get into brainstorming mode.  Come up with all sorts of ideas, even some crazy ones.  Sometimes it is in the crazy, out there ideas that you find the perfect solution to get you to your outcome.

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