team building, organization development, leadership expert michael cardus

People often find it difficult to stop trying to solve a problem because ‘deep down’ they (we) stick to thinking that an explanation is both realizable and indispensable if a problem is to really be solved.

Solutions to problems are frequently missed because they often look like mere preliminaries; we end up searching for explanations believing that without explanation a solution is irrational, not recognizing that the solution itself is it’s own best explanation. – Steve de Shazer

Below is a conversation I had with a person who was in a team building workshop. This discussion took place before the workshop time, and she just approached me and said…

Are you here to fix us, Is that team building?

I don’t know, fix you, are you broken?

Well why else would you be here…something is broken.

Huh…what is not broken?

What do you mean?

What is already going good enough to where it does not need to be fixed?

I don’t know.

Can I ask you something else?


I am impressed with how outgoing and approachable you are, is that something that is working well?

Yes…I guess so.

Do you enjoy that part of your work?

Yes, interacting with the clients, customers, friends is something I enjoy about my job.

So that’s good?

Yes, it is.

Back to this “broken” question…if we can fix the team, what does fixed look like? What are you doing with this team?

I don’t know…what would I be doing?


I would feel a greater ease when in team meetings and would be able to speak openly about concerns that I have, plus I would smile more when I am not with clients.

What else…tell me more…can you share an example of when you have done what you mentioned?

Oh boy…ah yes. 2 weeks ago the 8 of us had a meeting about a challenging case we are working on, and we have made some progress. In that team meeting, it felt like we were all being honest about how to continue the progress and what mistakes we made that might be fixed.

Wow! That is good. How did you manage to keep that meeting successful?

I don’t know…we’ve all struggled with this case, and our schedules have been tight, so that may have contributed.

Great. What else?

Before the meeting, I spent like 2 to 5 minutes with each of the team members just to hear their input and ask for their ideas for the meeting, and when the meeting started, we all had a pretty good idea of what was going to happen.

And that worked…meaning it wasn’t broken?

(Laughs)…that time we were great!

Would you like more of that?

Yes…that is what we want to happen.

It sounds like you are doing some great things and I am looking forward to spending the day with you.

Then the team was engaged in a team building process.

What do you think?

How would you have answered that question? What about our discussion above was useful to you? What could have been better?