Time for a team member’s retirement: using Option Solving?

Only the other week your editor was in conversation with the leader of a professional office. The office had done pretty well over the years, but had been through some hard times since the recent Great Recession. This had placed a cap on many things and put many normal things on hold while its team weathered the storm. Now things were beginning to turn around, it was time to rethink repositioning for the future.

This included the potential retirement of one of the office staff, George, who was well past retirement but was hanging in there because he had nowhere else to go. Even so, he was shunning all the upgrades to the office systems and was unwittingly undermining staff goodwill as he wanted time to stand still. This leader was really struggling with this issue, since this person was on their team for so long. There were clearly issues at home pushing George to stay working.

Your editor familiarized the office leader with the OS technique, which brought a positive response. Together they produced a thoughtful, rational question that looked something like this: “What is the most appropriate way to encourage George to retire; considering 1) the business world has passed him by, 2) he is reluctant to call it quits, 3) potential morale issues if mishandled, 4) want to attract younger professionals to office, and 5) it creates an opportunity for a fresh approach?”  Your editor usually encourages up to four primary considerations, so as not to make the decision too complex. However, and additional one was appropriate, in order to fit at least one hopeful item in. The composite question allowed for as many dimensions as possible that could affect a positive outcome.

The two of them were now challenged to create two yin and yang “bookends,” which would serve as extreme possibilities. Such bookends would then help focus their intuitive faculties toward the most realistic options. Bookends like these are vital for preventing people’s fertile intuitive minds from wandering and losing focus away from the issue at hand.

Yin and yang bookends that surfaced were: “Just push him out the door” and “Offer him a 1 year severance package,” both of which seemed unacceptable possibilities. However, they would serve the purposes of sparking more realistic possibilities – see our Latest Worked Example on the blog site.

With these in place, they now had that creative, intuitive thrust to develop at least five realistic options, so as to stretch the number of possibilities. You will see where they produced a possible sixth option. They then turned to emotional distancing to help flush-out the best optimum solution. Feel free to review their potential six in our Latest Example, one of which was: “Option-E: Delegate to Office Mgr to negotiate suitable retirement point.”

With their “pictogram” potentially ready for a decision point, they now pursued some emotional distancing. Emotional distancing would allow their intuitive minds to sub-consciously review this range of options against so many of their similar life experiences and choices; thereby seeking an optimal solution. What option would you have chosen?

If you have an example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.  Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting will be in two week’s time: “What is my best option for on-boarding and retaining a new associate?” Let’s have your COMMENTS or go to peter@ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger. Also consider buying the book: “Smart Decisions: Goodbye Problems, Hello Options” through amazon.com)


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