Retaining a key family member in the business: using Option Solving?

At recent meeting of two business partners, I found myself talking with them about one of their daughters who was working in their company as marketing director. She had left a career in the police force a year or so back and joined the company as part of the next generation leadership and to fix some of their sales and marketing issues. She had done an excellent job so far but was having a difficult time settling down, partly because it was a challenging transition into the commercial world and partly because she was having a difficult time accepting the team of key colleagues she found herself part of. (NOTE: This is not unusual for people leaving the police, fire service or military.) The partners didn’t want to lose her, if at all possible.

Having participated in prior option solving sessions, we readily developed an appropriate question. This commenced with What, since what would challenge the partners to switch to their creative intuitive minds, which are so much more powerful than their rational minds. Our question also included picking four considerations out of seven. (NOTE: It could have been three, at around the 50% mark, but they called on four instead.) Their Latest Example Option Solving Picture shows the four chosen: two of which were, “Her frustration with colleagues” and “She’s a strong willed personality.”

Their question then provoked two yin and yang “bookends,” designed to create a clear option solving framework: as well as get their creative intuitive juices fired-up. You will notice them in our Latest Example as, “Let her leave” and “Let her push out the colleagues she doesn’t respect.” These were both clear options, but their example will show why they were very unlikely. Rejection of these bookends aided the priming of their intuitions to find more realistic options.

Now their example shows that they created a picture of five realistic options: two of which were, “Bring more into the inner circle” – Option B, and “Suggest she starts a series of Ned, Bernie and Key Team social gatherings” – Option D. It is normal to produce at least five options, in order to stretch all participants’ creative juices. By doing so, it enabled the partners to feel they had exhausted all appropriate possibilities.

At this point, we resorted to emotional distancing by turning over their option solving picture to allow time for their intuitive minds to review the depths of their past experiences for parallel options and successes. We allowed for a 15 minute break to find the bathrooms and chat about other issues. Then we returned to their uncovered option solving picture, where they were asked to take a snapshot review and pick one of the five realistic options. The term picture is intentionally used, as our intuitive minds prefer to absorb pictures more than words.

Once they made their choice, I invited them to either consider Next Steps or continue with a Peel the Onion exercise (where they would take their chosen option and redo the complete option solving exercise again to find a set of sub-options to choose from). Since they chose the latter, we will deal with that “Peeling the Onion” exercise in the next blog.

It is preferable to “Peel the Onion” while participants are still focused on the particular issue at hand: or at least do it shortly thereafter. Once this done then participants can consider going back to Next Steps.  

If you have an example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.  Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting in 2 weeks: “Peeling the Onion with: Retaining a key family member in the business?” Let’s have your COMMENTS or go to peter@ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger.)

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Dealing with a sudden surge in course members: using Option Solving?

About two weeks ago, I was in the busy office of a faculty department head, who was in the good position of finding a tremendous uptick in student enrollment for his foundation IT courses. However, he was about to go on out of the country on vacation for a week, was not permitted to hire fresh full-time faculty for budgetary reasons, and had limited space to add more classes. Again, budgetary constraints would make class space a challenge, too.  He was almost fit to be tied, so I offered to reintroduce him to option solving and at the same time encourage him to feel fortunate about having a student increase rather than decrease. This point created a wizened smile at the get go.

We quickly started developing a suitable question –starting with What– which included picking four considerations: out of a total of eight. See our Latest Example Option Solving Picture to note the four picked: one of which was “Maintain academic standards.”

His question then kindled two yin and yang “bookends,” so as to create an option solving framework: in addition to getting his creative intuitive juices churning. You will see they came out as, “Walk away from the issue” and “Hire a F/T faculty member come hell or high water.” Both were clearly options, but our example will indicate why they were unacceptable. The rejection of these helped to prime his intuition for more plausible options.

You will see in our example that he built up a picture of five plausible options: one of which was “Get resumes for more new adjuncts” – Option C. We normally aim for at least five, so as to stretch participants’ creative capabilities. It was a challenge for him to develop five, but it made him feel he had explored all reasonable possibilities.

At that moment, I reintroduced emotional distancing by covering up his option solving picture to allow gestation time for his intuitive mind to subconsciously explore the depths of his hidden experiences for similar options and successes. We did this by taking a 10 minute break to talk about his forthcoming vacation, which was very much at the forefront of his mind; especially as he would be joining up with his son’s family abroad.. After that, we returned to his turned-over option solving picture and he was invited to quickly review it and pick one of the five plausible options. We purposely use the term picture, since our intuitive mind is much better at absorbing pictures than words.

Once his speedy choice was made, I invited him to either consider Next Steps or continue with a Peel the Onion exercise (where he would take his chosen option and redo the whole option solving exercise again to find a subset of meaningful action options). Owing to a shortage of time, he chose next steps. These are left in the picture for you to see. It is important for next steps to be extracted then and there, while a participant’s mind is focused on the issue. Such activity takes advantage of the freshness of issues in one’s mind, plus the intuitive mind being primed to come up with the best steps. This encourages immediate action and momentum.  

If you have an example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.  Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting in 2 weeks: “Retaining a key family member in the business.” Let’s have your COMMENTS or go to peter@ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger.)

 

Dealing with a disruptive team member and turning him/her into a more productive member: using Option Solving?

I was involved with a group of department leaders not so long ago and they raised what seemed to be a common and perplexing issue to all of them: dealing with a disruptive team member who undermines team spirit. None of the department leaders could easily move any such person out, owing to the nature of their organization, so finding other options became important to them.

Interestingly enough, their inclination was to take a punitive stance toward a recalcitrant person: although after some discussion, it was seen as better to challenge the individual concerned with an opportunity rather than discipline him/her. Disciplining people seems to be our traditional instinct where, more often than not, that will make matters worse rather than better. It is far better to offer people opportunities to win their cooperation rather than try to knock them down a notch.

With this thinking in mind, we developed a suitable question –starting with What, since that connects us with our intuitive mind for an opinion – which included three considerations: out of a total of six. We took the most crucial 50% of our consideration listing: see our Latest Example. Note: Finding the right question is key to obtaining an optimal option solving outcome.

This question then prompted two yin and yang “bookends,” which created a framework as well as got the group’s creative intuitive minds churning. These turned out as, “Make him a group leader” and “Don’t bother to try.” Although both were options, you will see in our Latest Example why these were unacceptable off the bat.

Challenged by these two bookends, fresh ideas/options started to flow. You will see in our example that the group ended up with seven plausible options: one of which was “Role to promote the group externally” – Option B. We normally aim for at least five, so as to stretch our creative capabilities, but in this case the energy developed in the room of eight people was such that it increased this number to seven. So far so good.

Now I introduced emotional distancing by covering up the option solving picture to allow some time to pass for the group’s intuitive minds to subconsciously consider the seven, while we talked about other issues. We did take a break and talk about other matters for about 15 minutes. At that point, the picture was uncovered and participants were requested to absorb it quickly, without due analysis, and then intuitively and confidentially make their choice from A-G.

Although there were some outliers, the group did make an overall choice and seemed pretty satisfied with the outcome, because it had considered all its options…doing that gave it peace of mind. The group then opted to consider Next Steps rather than continue with a Peel the Onion exercise. Once those next steps were fleshed out the group members seemed pretty much ready to go: with a look of relief across people’s faces as they sought to handle an issue that had been bothering them for ages.  

If you have an example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.  Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting in 2 weeks: “Dealing with a sudden surge in course members.” Let’s have your COMMENTS or go to peter@ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger.)