Traditional approaches to problem-solving assume a cause-and-effect relationship between problems and solutions.
The Solutions Focus outlines a different way to attain goals that focuses on solutions not problems; the future not the past; and what to do as opposed to who to blame.
To illustrate their ideas, Jackson and McKergow provide readers with this example concerning traffic jams on a highway caused by drivers abruptly change lanes: The drivers behind the lane changers quickly apply the brakes, setting off a chain reaction that causes traffic down the line to come to a standstill. Examining the problem (drivers changing lanes) doesn't lead to a solution - there's not much you can do about the lane changers. Instead, the traffic authority in question applied a solutions-focus mindset to find the solution (lowering speed limits during rush hour).
The Solutions Focus, the authors provide the tools to help people, businesses and enterprises head straight toward workable answers. The "solutions focus" is a different approach to solving workplace problems and focuses on a positive method of dealing with organizations, teams and people. The authors write that solutions focus means avoiding the pointless search for what causes problems and instead provides a direct route that leads to a solution. In other words, the focus is on solutions (not problems), the future (not the past) and on what's going well (rather than what's gone wrong). The authors summarize this approach in the phrase: "Find out what works and do more of it."
There are a number of key assumptions and principles that underpin solution-focused work:
Change happens all the time. Your job is to identify and magnify useful change. There is no one right way of seeing the world. A detailed understanding of the problem doesn't translate into a solution. The solution's clues are there in front of you. You just have to see them. Intelligent small changes can have bigger impacts later on. It is important to stay solution focused, not solution forced. The Simple Model The methodology found in The Solutions Focus is built around a framework of principles known by the acronym SIMPLE. The six principles of the model are as follows: Solutions not problems. Inbetween - the action is in the interaction. Make use of what's there. Possibilities - past present and future. Language - simply said. Every case is different.
The Power of Simplicity The authors write that every facet of SIMPLE is important, and the choice of acronym is deliberate. We choose simplicity because if we find a way that works then there should be no need to make something more complicated than it already is. No matter how impressive complexity or complication might sound, the authors write that organizations should strive for simplicity, directness and effectiveness. The Solutions Focus sheds light on each principle of the SIMPLE model and provides six solutions tools that can help people and organizations apply the SIMPLE principle and achieve the solution they are seeking.
The first of these tools is the "platform." The platform is a point of departure for the process of searching for what works. You need to establish the platform early to support the changes that you are going to make.
You must next define the "future perfect." This tool describes in detail a future without the problem that you are trying to resolve.
As you travel from the platform to the future perfect, you need to accumulate "counters" along the way. Counters are any resources, skills, know-how and expertise that will help you move toward the solution. The authors also demonstrate how asking the right questions can help uncover the counters that point toward a solution. These counters will typically line up along a fourth solution tool: a "scale" that helps you measure progress on your path to a solution.
Another important tool offered in
The Solutions Focus is "affirmation" - to recognize, value and affirm the contributions that people are making in the solution search.
Finally, small actions are key in finding solutions. Often these small actions will push you further toward a solution by helping you discover new counters. The authors emphasize that different situations might emphasize different tools. For example, the solution to a strategic problem might be revealed by defining the future perfect. For another problem, finding counters is the key step.
Why Soundview Likes This Book The Solutions Focus provides a fascinating look at a system that can help people and organizations find answers to the most complex questions. Using numerous enlightening stories and examples from those who have used this type of system to solve some of the most complex problems people and businesses face, the authors have tapped into a plan that can make problem resolution a simpler process for anyone. The organizational process they describe seems to be the guiding principle behind the formatting of the book itself too, because its contents are well-designed and thoughtfully focus on clear language, smart thinking, well-refined ideas, and constant summarization of the key facts that can help readers make use of its carefully conceived strategies. Copyright (c) 2002 Soundview Executive Book Summaries
Soundview Executive Book Summaries