I recently viewed a Ted Talk presented by Linda Cliatt-Wayman – How To Fix a Broken School. It packed many valuable leadership lessons into twenty short minutes.
Ms. Cliatt-Wayman turned around three schools that had been labeled “low-performing and persistently dangerous.”
She originally planned to lay down the law but soon realised her challenge was far more complex. Leadership was desperately needed, but not just strong leadership – understanding, compassion and respect were also required.
One lesson that stood out to me was her saying, “So what – NOW WHAT?”
When confronted with a challenge, Linda Cliatt-Wayman would proclaim “So what – now what?” I get the feeling that she didn’t whisper this either – I think message was delivered loud and clear!
Four simple words sum up the essence of problem solving:
- Acknowledge the reality – analyse the problem, determine the true picture
- Move to a solution
No wallowing, no blame, just see what the problem is and then get on with solving it.
Shorthand phrases like this cut to the heart of any challenge. It sure beats what many leaders do – they spend time going over the problem, talking it round and round, blaming and making people feel bad, without coming up with a solution.
The longer you spend in the problem, the longer it takes you and your team to solve it, and the more time you waste. Morale suffers. A positive team becomes negative.
The challenge wins.
You’ve got a problem – so what?
Now what are you going to do about it?