Go Mad thinking

Solution Focused Thinking – Your organisation’s hidden competitive advantage

13 Feb

Post by Expedite

Posted in: Business Development Consulting, General, Human Resource

Solution Focused Thinking – Your organisation’s hidden competitive advantage

Go Mad logo

Go Mad thinking

The world of business is complex and these complexities change every day. Therefore, companies face a lot of issues in achieving their goals. So, how can companies overcome these and equip their people with the skills to out-think their competitors?

What are the most common challenges organisation’s face?

  • Lack of synergy

A common problem in the corporate world is the lack of synergy in departments. People don’t work effectively together, they blame each other for day-to-day problems, there is a lack of accountability and an absence of team spirit – all of which results in an unhealthy work atmosphere.

  • Low employee engagement

Employee engagement is crucial for a company’s success. And employers realise that high engagement results in a positive effect on the bottom line. However, studies have shown that engagement levels have dipped in the UK. Therefore, companies face the important task of keeping their employees satisfied and motivated, and in turn, retaining them.

  • Loss in productivity

Along with engagement levels, productivity among UK workers has reduced significantly. And companies with low productivity lose ground to competitors.

Albert Einstein once described insanity as, ‘doing the same thing over and over again whilst expecting different results.’ Likewise, companies are caught in the insanity cycle where they rely on the same actions repeatedly, expecting different outcomes! What they fail to realise is that there are alternative ways to approach their problems and come up with innovative solutions.

But what are companies doing wrong?

An article in MIT Sloan, a management review magazine, made an interesting observation. It highlighted that managers in large organisations tend to approach business problems with a narrow focus. They put the emphasis on proposing solutions rather than thinking in depth. The reason? They don’t have the time to think, as their mind is on their busy agenda.

Similarly, managers focus too much on developing behaviours and fail to develop the quality of employees’ thinking skills. In this process they often overlook the development of solution-focused thinking, which underpins desired behaviours.

Why is thinking so important?

Your thoughts lead to actions which lead to results. Therefore, the key to a successful outcome is the quality of thinking which precedes the action you take.”

Thinking is essential in business – from leaders and managers to employees who are just starting out. It is a crucial part of problem-solving innovation and day to day decision-making. It enables leaders to create and clearly think through the available options, make a sound choice, and then act on it.

Likewise, when leaders encourage employees to think, they get better at handling a company’s complex problems and make productive decisions. And when employees are confident at fulfilling their company’s most pressing needs, their engagement increases. This, in turn, positively impacts the bottom line of your company.

Therefore, better thinking leads to better actions.

Encourage employees to think better.

Did you know that our brains produce around 50,000 thoughts per day? And that to develop better ways of thinking, it is essential to understand and classify how people think?

People have peculiar habits or patterns when they think. Go M.A.D Thinking have developed an easy way to categorise these into four core thinking components that are either helpful or hindering – self-talk statements, self-talk questions, recalled memories, and imagination.

Nobel laureate and psychologist, Daniel Kahneman estimated that 99.99% of our thoughts are about the future or the past. Therefore, it’s imperative to identify what proportions of these thoughts are helpful, and which are hindering.

HR managers could engage in an activity where they ask employees to identify a situation that is bothering them and ask themselves the following questions;

  • What statements are they making regarding themselves, the situation or others?
  • What questions are they asking themselves?
  • What memories are they recalling?
  • What kind of future (success or failure) are they imagining?

Later, ask them which components were helpful and which hindered their progress to achieve what they were seeking. This is particularly effective in meetings for encouraging joined up thinking, concrete decisions, and greater clarity.

The Go MAD® Framework for better thinking.

These days, organisations benefit from shared IT systems – for example, Skype for internal communication, platforms such as Basecamp for project management, Google drive for data storage and sharing… the list is endless. But, have you considered embedding a “Shared Thinking” system in your organisation – a framework which reduces wasteful actions and optimises productivity?

How many shared technological platforms do you already have? One? Two? Too many? And how many Thinking Systems does your organisation have? The answer is as many as you have people!

Why a shared thinking system?

Embedding a shared thinking system is the key to increasing employee productivity and reducing inefficiency. It also helps in reducing hidden waste that is overlooked by lean programmes.

Businesses in all industries make use of lean principles to maximise value. However, they fail to recognise waste that happens in the form of employee sub-optimal thinking.

This is where you can embed a solution-focused thinking and out-think your competition, just by having the tools and giving yourself a little time!

What sort of impact has improved ‘thinking’ made in organisations?

You might expect that it would be difficult to measure an improvement in your people’s thinking and more importantly what difference it makes in the organisation. In fact not only can improvements be measured, but significant differences have been proved in employee satisfaction, a reduced employee turnover rate, savings in recruitment costs, increase in sales, an improved client retention to name a few. Here are some examples;

  • A big lift on your bottom line –

500 employees took a 90-day challenge that resulted in a business turnaround – from suffering losses, to an 11% increase of net profit margin

  • A massive morale booster –

The design, launch, and evaluation of an innovation scheme for 7500 employees, which resulted in 76% increase in employee engagement, 630 team entries and a cost saving of more than £264,000 from just the top 5 entries

  • Game changing breakthroughs –

Innovations in 85 convenience stores that provided over £1.1m additional profits per annum

The system in a nutshell

We understand that practical training is great, but often gets forgotten after a few days. Which is why we have become experts in embedding the Go M.A.D® Thinking Framework into organisations for sustainable results and growth.

This framework covers seven key principles and 11 connecting links. The 4000 hours of research we conducted sought to answer the specifically designed question – “What is the simplest way to explain the success principles people naturally use when making a difference?”

We know not everyone does the same job or works on the same project. The good news is it’s possible to have a single unifying Thinking System, which comprises these key principles – reason why; clearly defining goals; possibility thinking and planning priorities; self-belief; taking personal responsibility; involving others; taking actions and measuring results.


But how do you implement and embed a Shared Thinking System?

Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent Van Gogh

This system also involves the sharing of proven and practical tools that have a common purpose of helping all employees to consciously think about achieving results or improving performance.

And HR Directors can act on this daily to reduce waste and improve efficiency. Each day has 1440 minutes. They can encourage all employees to allocate just 1% to thinking. This would help people affected by a change to think in a more helpful way and mentally adjust quicker and more easily. When employees in a company understand the link between the initial six Go M.A.D® key principles, they are well-equipped to implement the seventh principle – taking action in a solution-focused way.

Take the 60 or 90-day challenge

“If there’s a way to do it better…. find it.” – Thomas Edison

Everyone has shared language, tools, and they can be applied everywhere. The Go M.A.D® 60/90-day improvement challenges engage people in continuous improvement. Many organisations are expected to deliver results. And to accomplish them, managers impose a set of actions. The problem arises when these actions fail. This is mainly because managers have assumed employees have thought actions through in a particular way. Fresh thinking is needed to implement appropriate actions and deliver the results.

This is where organisations can include a 60 or 90-day Go M.A.D® challenge that applies all the seven key principles to make a measurable difference. These specific differences are then measured at the end of 60 or 90 days and we celebrate the successes.

Parting thoughts…

Often described by companies as the most effective learning they have ever completed, our ongoing quest is to solve organisations’ challenges in the most straightforward manner. And this is what we pride Go M.A.D. Thinking® on. We provide an easy to learn, easy to use common language and a shopping trolley full of effective techniques that have been proven to create high performing teams, organisations and improve the lives of those within them.

We get companies thinking, not just doing. We engage and develop their people to Go Make A Difference!