Assuming the Leadership: What should I Focus On – using Option Solving?”

Not so long ago, I was discussing with an executive his/her imminent assignment to assume leadership of a worldwide team. We were discussing what he/she would focus on at the outset to set the right leadership tone.

Once (s)he was fully briefed on the option solving approach, (s)he set about producing a rational question to prompt the right thinking and outcome. This turned out to be: “What would be one of my first activities to be focused on, as I take on the top leadership role; considering our organization is still finding its way, the leadership team is spread out, it still needs strong central leadership, and team members have strong ideas of their own?” The latter considerations were about 50% of the key ones listed. (S)He introduced positive and less positive considerations which were incorporated to take a balanced approach.

Now this question was in place, I encouraged him/her to create the least likely Yin and Yang “bookends,” which not only formed an outer framework for the issue but were sufficiently extreme to stimulate his/her imagination into producing more plausible options. These “bookends” came out as follows: “Take a passive approach ,” at one end, with, “Take a commanding position” at the other. Take a look at our Latest Example to compare why you think these were least likely.

(S)He was challenged to come up with at least five plausible options so as to consider the most creative options. Such an approach really stretches the mind to come up with possibilities that otherwise would never have been considered without option solving. One of the options (s)he produced was: “Work on building close ties with current top team members”… which was Option B. Again, you’ll find it in our Latest Example. Which one would you have chosen in the circumstances?

We then broke off for a couple of hours to talk about other issues in his/her new assignment and then returned to revisit the option solving “pictogram” we had created. Within a short space of time, (s)he chose the one that (s)he felt would work best in his/her circumstances. From there, I encouraged him/her to develop an action-initiative to implement it, while it was still fresh in his/her mind.

If you have an issue example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.
Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting in 2 weeks: “Encouraging an executive to participate in a leadership appreciation session?” We’re always interested in your COMMENTS or go to to connect with the blogger.)


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