Problems abound and great solutions are hard to find.  As I talk to many people, I discover that most leaders are concerned about issues they face both within business and in their personal lives.  There is no shortage of issues we could discuss and most of them are not things we can change unilaterally.  Instead, we must work with others to create solutions.

The question is how do we create great solutions to the challenges we face?  Most issues have more than one option for resolving them, and people have different perspectives on which option is best.  So how do we as leaders facilitate a solution that our team members can buy into and incorporates what is essential for everyone involved?

Great solutions are created when leaders first listen to varied perspectives and seek to understand the issue clearly.

We cannot assume that we understand what the issue is about.  When leaders assume they know what the issue is, it creates solutions that do not fully resolve the challenges being faced.

Solutions only work when we first probe to understand the needs of those involved.  Leaders must be attuned not only to the actual issues but also what needs must be addressed by the solution.  Identifying these keys to an agreement will smooth the way for us to identify the best solution.  Many times, brainstorming and collaboration can assist in understanding.

Next, leaders must develop and refine a solution that provides the key elements needed by each individual.   This is different than a compromise.  A compromise is giving something to everyone.  A great solution provides the key elements to as many as possible.  Key elements are deal-breakers and the top priorities for your stakeholders.

Finally, we must communicate not only the solution but the reason why this solution will best allow us to reach our goals.  Sharing our process with how we reached this conclusion is essential to achieving buy-in and implementation.

How are you doing with creating great solutions?  Consider which steps you may be missing that are minimizing the impact of your solutions.