SOLVED cards solution-focused problem solving and leadership coaching.

Interaction is what increases psychological safety and trust within organizations. These questions are a process to increase participation and interaction.

SOLVED solution focus interaction for increased psychological safety

Video transcript:
  • How do you make progress when you’re stuck?
  • What questions do you ask?
  • What actions do you evoke?

I’ve been working with organizations, leaders and managers, and people inside organizations for a couple of years. Solution-focused practice does not fix broken systems but gives people tools to interact and connect inside those systems. 

Organizationally there is a whole lot of shit that you cannot do anything about. And interpersonally, you can stop, find people around you to connect with, and develop a process or a series of questions to figure out.

  1. What do I want to have happen?
  2. Where am I now?
  3. What’s working well for me?
  4. What are my next steps that might cause you to shift how you go about your work?

It may cause a change in the way you interact inside the work system that changes the way folks around you act and behave. And that may be enough disruption in how things happen to allow you to create the environment you want to see with others, to make progress in your life.

This is not a magical solution.

It’s not a unicorn.

It’s a way to say, all right, I don’t like what’s going on, or I have a challenge.

I made these SOLVED cards.

They are solution-focus coaching cards to work you through a process.

I’m going to share six of them today.

In the coaching process, we use people and teams to enhance the interaction and watch the emergence of solutions that come through the process.

To begin with, we start with Situation.

Situation is this opening question.

When you overcome this challenge, where are your focus and energy going?

Think about that. Write it down, answer it, or ask your team members that question and allow their answers to be – no need to follow up. 

Let them answer.

Let them respond.

Next, we move into Observation.

What does progress look like in the next ten minutes? Ten days? Ten years?

Think through that.

Look at the ten-minute change. What can happen immediately?

What does progress look like? 

Ten days midterm. What is happening differently in ten days?

Ten years?

Does this shit still matter?

I’ve found through interactional workshops with groups. And when we ask that ten-year question, they go, this may not be as important as you thought it was, or they’ll say, that’s a damn good question. I want to ensure that people here after me don’t deal with the same nonsense. And they create small things to make it better or to make a change.

Next is a Level question.

Think about a continuum of progress in the challenge you described on one side as the number one. On the other side is the number ten. What does one represent? What does ten represent? Where are you on this continuum going through this situation?
  • What do you want to have happen?
  • Where is your energy going?
  • Ten minutes, ten days, ten years?
  • What does progress look like to the level?
  • The challenge described on one side is 1 other side is 10. 10 being you know what to do, one is the opposite; where are you?

What this does is it places an anchor. It puts a number on where you are and how you’re going. That gives things to talk around.

Next is a Validation question. 

When faced with challenges in the past, how did you make progress?

This moves the idea of interactions and people at work from a linear belief – past happened, we can’t change it, the present is here, the future is where we’re going – to a circular causality of time concept. The past is recreated in your present that will develop a way to create the future. It happened in your current perception of now. 

When you think about and identify challenges that you are proud of, that you made progress on, those parts will be strengths you can use to move forward through this challenge. It might just be that I chose to leave the Situation and do something different. That’s okay.

Your responses and the interactions are what drive ethics and progress inside the organization.

Next would be an Exceptions question. A common exception question is; 

When is your solution happening even just a little? 
  • You’ve gone through situations, where’s your energy going to go when this is better – identify what you’re moving towards.
  • You’ve discussed observations 10 seconds, 10 days, 10 years. You’ve pulled out a level. You identify where you are in a progress spectrum.
  • What works?
  • You’ve used some validation based upon your skills or your team’s interactional skills to make things happen. They will pull some knowledge and success forward.

Now you’re asking, where are these things you want to have happen, happening even a little teeny bit?

You’re looking to identify those so you can take those from the challenge and move them to how can I be more successful in utilizing these skills?

Realizing that amongst the people in the room or within your network, you have access to people and resources that can help you figure this thing out and make progress on your team or yourself.

The final part is we call a Decision and Direction question.

What did you experience or observe from today that you know will be helpful in your progress?
  • Ask your team from the interactions working together inside the defined boundaries of SOLVED – What parts do you want to hold on to?
  • What were those nuggets or bright spots or troughs and crests in the waves that you know will move you forward and help make progress in your organization?

These questions are simple; they’re simple because we’re creating a structure. A foundation pliant enough for your team, those you work with to interact within a frame to allow creativity and innovation to emerge.

If you’re in a management role, a leadership role, you are participating in the self-organization of this discussion.

  • You are not there to solve problems.
  • You are not there to tell them what to do.
  • You are not there to fix things. 

In this boundary of SOLVED – you are creating interactions.

Ethics through interactions give people choices, autonomy, and action over what they wish to have happen without manipulating the system and using them as means to achieve your or the companies ends. 

From doing this, you are building your own skill sets in working with people and increasing the team’s trust.

That is psychological safety.

That is the empowerment of your team.

That is you owning your shit and sharing with others.

To say, how do we move together?

The entanglement, the connections are what make progress.

SOLVED cards solution focused team development for psychological safety