Too Much Selling Of The Solution

Too much selling of the solution to the problem, and not enough addressing or selling of the problem, ie most managers put 10% of their energies into selling the problem, and 90% into selling the solution to the problem. To get ownership by staff of the problem, and then of the solution, a manager needs to concentrate on selling the problem first, ie put staff in contact with disgruntled clients. Jan Carlzon (former CEO of SAS airlines) believes

"...the key is to let them discover the problem......you won't be successful if people aren't carrying the recognition of the problem and then the solution within themselves..."

HBR, 1998a

Some more advice for management

"...when you take on an issue, you become that issue in the eyes of many...People involved usually frame the conflict quite inaccurately, attribute the problem to personality or stylistic differences..."

rather than representing accurately

"...underlying value choices, either individual or organisational. Personality conflicts turned out frequently to mask a fundamental conflict in the division of responsibilities, the primacy of cultural values, or even in the vision of the agency......Whenever a senior authority in an organisation resolves a hot issue, that person's position becomes the story. Winners and losers are created simply by virtue of authority, and no learning takes place. And because the people with authority have taken sides, that authority may later be in jeopardy...... Solutions are achieved when "the people with the problem"go through a process together to become "the people with a solution". The issues have been internalized, owned, and ultimately resolved by the relevant parties to achieve progress..."

Ronald A. Heifetz et al, 2002

Getting people to acquire ownership of their issues and/or problems will help convince them about the need for change. Another way of achieving this is to focus on methods and results but not reasons, ie open book management. This occurs when all employees actively concern themselves with an organisation's objectives.

Furthermore, the process of acknowledging and recognizing a particular problem exists involves the staff needing to raise their consciousness. Only when the problem is recognized is there a possibility for change. Then the staff must become aware of the viable options to solve the problem and need some motivation to consider a new approach.

"...the more convinced the individual becomes about the seriousness of the problem and the chances that some course of action will be able to deal effectively with it, the more likely the individual will consider changing that behaviour. The decisive step is taken when one attempts the alternative behaviour the first time. However, unless there is continuing strong support, the new behaviour is not likely to be maintained..."

Howard Gardner, 2006

This process involves developing new stories, handling the entrenched counter-stories, the use of imaginative formats, and the possibility of tipping points, etc

 

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