Dealing with a staff member’s unprofessional conduct: using Option Solving?

I found myself talking with a professional practice leader about a member of staff who had recently compromised some client financial transactions. He was pretty annoyed about the whole affair and intended to make an example of this person, who had taken key business decisions without authority. It created an extra financial burden on his practice. His dilemma: how to best handle it in light of a number of considerations, some of which are mentioned below.
The practice leader was already familiar with the option solving approach, consequently we proceeded to building the right question, which turned out to be: ”What is my best option for dealing with a staff member’s unprofessional conduct, considering employment laws, feelings of other staff members, has worked in the office for a long time, possible ill-conceived motives concerning clients, and the person’s sister works in the office?” Our listing of considerations was ten, so we selected the 50% most crucial ones so that the question wasn’t too cumbersome. We kept the other 5 in the background for reference purposes..
Having set this in place, we then created two yin and yang “bookends;” to help frame future options and the practice leader’s intuition surface the best possible options from his many life experiences. His ‘bookends’ turned out to be, “Let the whole thing go” and “Promote person into a more responsible role.” As will be seen in our Latest Example; you will note why these two possibilities, although options, were highly unlikely ones..
With these now in place, I encouraged the practice leader to draw on his creative intuition to come-up with at least five plausible options. By producing at least five, it ensured that he stretched his thinking far enough. From the five he produced, we share one here: “Have her stay with first of 3 strikes and then out. Then give her formal verbal warning – lasting over 3 mths” – Option E. (Note: The next warning would be a formal written one, also within the 3 month timeframe, and any final incident would mean an exit from the practice.)
We now had an option picture for his intuitive mind to absorb. I encouraged him to sleep on it as a form of emotional distancing. We agreed to talk the following morning, after he recorded his first choice after waking up. I also encouraged him to look at this picture just before he went to sleep, so that his intuitive capabilities could reflect upon it during the night.
We did talk the following morning, when he revealed his option choice. At that point we explored his “Next Steps,” while our option solving exercise was still fresh in his mind. He was then positioned to act.
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: “Making the most of an initial meeting?” Let’s have your COMMENTS or go to to connect with the blogger.)


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