This is a story about the most powerful paradigm shift of my life. It was a time where I had found considerable career success, but the future was a boring linear path – defined by momentum, not intention, doing at best 40% what I loved. I was losing steam at work, angry at the 60% holding me back. I was lost in my problems, and my team was obsessed with finding blame over winning battles. I was losing the war. Enter Alan Kay. Introducing me to the Solutions Focus truly changed every part of my life by doing three things, the focus of the method:
- Stop focusing on problems and blame
- Defining the future I most want
- List small things, practical things I could do to get there
Now, just a few years later. Let me tell you, I have EVERYTHING I wanted when I defined that future. And the method is simple. Looking at my original picture from my notes – you can see. This is not rocket science. Alan is even featured in the international 2nd Edition, out soon. Alan has helped countless peers, organizations and businesses in my network since then. He has a special place in his heart ( and work ) for charities and social-profit organizations. The applications are numerous. A fundraising Director peer of mine has used it for work, career and loves Alan’s special set of SF interview questions. Canada’s “house doctor” Dr. Brian Goldman describes in this 2 minute video what Alan has done for him ( identical to my experience ). Most importantly, instead of promoting the use of the method, Alan has written a more practical ( and faster reading ) book to apply SF to your work. I highly recommend it, I highly recommend you call Alan if you’re looking to turnaround a business, a team, a life. A massive business read in 2013 is Dan Pink’s “To Sell is Human” in which he cites Solution Focus authors Dan & Chip in helping smart business professionals to ask better questions. Another big benefit of SF. Alan turned improved the quality of my life around so much I even created a personal networking MVP award, and he was one of the first winner. So, follow Alan on Twitter, another great source for SF learning is his international peer Coert Visser at @DoingWhatWorks. Here’s Alan and I talking about my experience with SF ( um ok, I’ve lost a little weight recently, not until I watched this video did I realize, I have to downsize my suits. Please join my wife in laughing at me) and below that a quick primer on Solutions Focus – I hope it’s as helpful to you as it was me! Paul
3 Replies to “Sharing the power of “Solutions Focus””
Thanks for an informative blog, Paul. There's a lot here to follow up on! Relating to this topic, the other day I came across a little "a-ha" video which speaks to a stage between knowing there's a problem and moving into solution mode. No blame!! It seems to fit with your bullet point about "defining the future". Here is the link: http://blogs.hbr.org/video/2013/03/diagnostic-thinking.html I am looking forward to exploring the Solutions Focus approach. Thanks again! Colleen
I have you to thank for introducing me to Alan Kay and Solution Focus in the first place through your blog. Often when you name Golden Crabs (as you call your personal networking awardees) I take the time to get to know them through their books/blogs etc. They have all made a positive influence in my life through what they offer.
Alan's books have changed the way I coach others through conflict 100%! It truly is amazing how simply learning to ask better questions can change outcomes dramatically. I'm looking forward to learning with you about how to get better at this technique. I just had the chance to read the newest book by Alan on Friday – it was actually readable on an Android phone in under an hour if you've taken the time to work through the Fry the Monkeys book – so an incredible business resource for sure.
Thanks again for introducing this again to your readers and for your mention of my blog above.
I'm a mega fan of Alan's as well. I can genuinely say working/coaching with him has changed the direction of my life and work forever! Solutions Focus is great but Alan adds a layer of humanity to the process and brings his own warmth which is far beyond anything than can be put in a formula. We love you Alan!