When the problem isn’t the problem

11 Nov 2020

When the problem isn’t the problem

How many times have you identified a safety problem, come up with a solution, written plans and procedures, presented the solution to the workers; only to have the problem raise itself again and again. How many times have you gone back and repeated the process? Have you felt the frustration and loss that comes with doing the same thing over and over without seeing the expected change? You are not alone in this space.

I’ve spent more than a decade in large and small organizations encouraging and enabling people to work safely; but I keep noticing that over and over again, the approaches  used to communicate with people didn’t create the connections needed to engage and understand the real needs of the individuals and teams. There had to be a better way and I stumbled upon the emerging science of positive psychology the evidence-based exploration of human flourishing and the more I studied, the more I understood that most change approaches fail because we try to fix whats wrong, rather than build on the strengths available to us.

Sometimes we need to step back, pause and listen., Really listen. Not just to what the is being said, but also to what ISN’T being said. Who is or isn’t asking for the solution?  Is our view of the problem the same as theirs? Are we trying to fill a personal need rather than what is best for the people involved?

By truly listening and putting yourself in the other persons shoes we’re able to respond in a way that is supportive and helpful. Setting aside our own need to control, offer a quick solution and stop the pain, we have an opportunity to build trust and establish a meaningful, positive culture.