We hear it all the time, whether it is from someone with whom we work or from others. Someone says “Don’t come to me with a problem unless you have a solution.”
This is a terrible idea. It is possible to see a problem for which we do not have an answer. That does not mean the problem is not worth solving, it means we need the experience and ideas of others to find the answer.
We work with very talented, experienced people in the teams we see. Not one of them has the resolution to every problem. Even if they have an idea, their proposed solution may not be the best alternative for the organization.
At CALMC, we believe that, when it comes to solving problems, everyone together is smarter than any one of us. Members of the group have their own ideas about how to resolve an issue or can contribute enhancements to proposals or point out potential negative consequences that might otherwise be unforeseen. Even if a member may not have a solution at first, the deliberation of the group can give them the opportunity to contribute.
Even if the person who brings the problem does believe they have an answer, it may not be the best alternative. Jumping at the first suggestion can produce wrong answers. Have you ever seen a solution to a problem cause more problems? Chances are they grabbed for a quick or simple solution without considering all alternatives or consequences.
Invoking the statement not to bring up problems unless you have a solution is often used as an avoidance tactic. Perhaps they really do not want to put in the effort needed to work on the problem or do not consider it important in their priorities. Either way, a problem exists and will not be solved if we use this as an excuse to ignore it. An opportunity to improve the work system will be lost.
CALMC can help your team seek effective solutions to issues in your workplace. Contact us and we will discuss your situation and steps you can take toward making better decisions.