LIAM 023 – Focus on What You Want: The Solutions Focus!

In this episode, I talk about how we tend to get more of what we focus on. Therefore, we should focus on solutions, not problems; on what is working, not on what is not. I introduce you to The Solutions Focus by Paul Jackson & Mark McKergow.

Show Outline:

  1. The Law of Expansion – what you focus on expands/increases
    1. Most focus on the problems, what is wrong, what they hate, what they don’t want to happen
      1. Debt
      2. Relationship problems
      3. Politics
      4. “Don’t drop this!”
    2. Most counseling focuses on the problems and the past
      1. There can be benefit to this, but should not be the emphasis
    3. Most bosses and leaders focus on what employees are doing wrong
      1. They tend to get more of the same
  2. Focus on what you want, what you love, what you want more of!
    1. Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate
      1. Vote FOR something, rather than AGAINST something
    2. What you want must be stated in the positive
      1. The man I want doesn’t drink excessively, doesn’t put me down or call me names, doesn’t watch football all the time, and isn’t a slob…
    3. The best coaches never point out what someone did wrong, just what they can do differently to get a better result
      1. We should be coaching, not criticizing
    4. Leaders/Manager will do better to tell employees how to improve, focusing on the desired results
    5. Parents will get more results by telling kids what they did right, rather than what they did wrong
      1. Over emphasize good grades, good behavior
      2. Focus on successes rather than failures
    6. We learn more from success than we do from failure
      1. LIAM 008 – Set Yourself Up for Victory; Learn from Your Successes!
      2. LifeThought: Success comes in Can, not in Cannots
      3. Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses
    7. My experience is that focusing more on solutions, than problems, what’s right instead of what’s wrong, the problems tend to fix themselves or disappear.
  3. The Solutions Focus – Paul Jackson & Mark McKergow
    1. I use the process from this book with every one of my clients, on my kids and on myself!
    2. Don’t waste time on looking for/analyzing the cause of the problem, Go straight to the solution!
    3. “The focus on solutions (not problems), the future (not the past) and on what’s going well (rather than what’s gone wrong) leads to a positive and pragmatic way of making progress.”
    4. “Focusing on solutions rejects conventional approaches that share the widespread assumption that focusing on problems is the best way to solve them.”
    5. “Identify what works and do more of it / Stop doing what doesn’t work and do something different”
      1. “I really appreciate when you do…”
      2. “Thank you for doing….”
      3. “Hey, the way you handled that_______ was really impressive.”
      4. “The way you handled that situation didn’t get the results you wanted. How about doing ____ instead next time?”
    6. A Solutions Focus Technique for most situations:
      1. Think of a situation that you’ve been complaining about. Rate how you feel about it on a scale of 1 to 10
      2. There is no “wrong” number. Whatever it is is right for you or the other person
      3. Instead of asking “why so low?” Ask “why so high?”
        1. Why is it a 5 and not a 4 or 3?
      4. This question forces you to focus on what is working instead of what is wrong
      5. List all the things that are working that make it as high as it is, instead of lower
      6. What are some things that could be done/improved to move it 1 point higher
        1. What signs/evidence would be the recognizable to let you know it had moved 1 point higher
        2. Use the magic sleep method
        3. Set yourself up for victory by just trying to move 1 point higher
      7. What small steps/actions can you take today to make those things happen?

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4 Responses to LIAM 023 – Focus on What You Want: The Solutions Focus!

  1. Heather M November 3, 2014 at 7:46 am #

    Really enjoyed this, Bruce.

  2. Peter Mis November 4, 2014 at 10:50 am #

    Hello Bruce,

    Great meaningful content. Thank you for sharing your gift with the world! I am looking forward to future podcast.

  3. Lewis Autor November 22, 2014 at 2:49 pm #

    I highlight this method more in our organization’s mentoring of high school boys to achieve great life outcomes. We do it in theory, as we ask school principals to select students for our group mentoring program who are making good grades and have good behavior, and also those who do not. The principal does not tell us why they selected each student. We call them “Warriors for Life” from the beginning, and hold an orientation and engage them through a connectedness curriculum, then an induction ceremony. We do not assess their individual needs until we have shown them that we care and empathize with them. Thanks for posting The Solutions Focus.

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