Friday, February 05, 2010

3D Juggling 464: Oh... something!

Claire writes: "As a manager or a leader, how often do you think "Oh no... Oh Help... Oh dear... " when someone brings a tricky situation to you in a one to one? And do you ever jump into the situation with them in an attempt to help them solve the problem?

I was observing two people working together in a training situation this last week and the manager had clearly begun to notice a number of issues arising from the story which his colleague had brought to him. During the conversation they tried to work together to solve the problem. he dropped in some great insights but they got drowned in the noise of the solutions that were flying about. When we did the feedback afterwards, I invited him to identify the issues. He had noticed more than six - they were about stakeholders and organisational culture and assumptions. Taking a heliciopter view totally changes the way in which we view a so-called problem. And when managers and peers can do this with their teams it can transform what's going on in that situation at work. Of course when we don't take a helicopter view, we risk jumping into the problem in an attempt to solve it. And that can often feel like a whirlpool or a vortex with no way out.

Solutions are far more effective when they address the real situation and not the presenting problem. What's great about taking a helicopter view, is that you don't need to have identified all the issues. Once you can encourage the person you are talking with to join you in looking from a new perspective, they can see them too! So next time you can hear your mind saying "Oh no... Oh Help... Oh dear... " try inviting your colleague to take a step back and look at the whole situation from a different perspective.

PS After the feedback someone asked - how hight can you take someone with this. The answer is as high as is useful to them. I have worked with people who have looked down from several levels and had new insights.

Love this? Do us a favour and send it to five people. Who thinks like you? You could send it to someone who gets stuck in the vortex.

Discuss this week's juggling at

© 2010 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely. Please retain contact details: and send a copy/ link to

Follow us on Twitter 3dclaire
Facebook 3D Coaching

No comments: