Hey manager, I get it. Some days are short on opportunity and very long on “challenges.” But, at some point in your career, you will need to step back, take a deep breath, and find the opportunity buried beneath the mountain of challenge.
Step one is getting everyone on the same page. Despite their talents and perspectives, each member of your team can learn to focus on the goal, rather than worry about the strategy or gripe about the hurdles. If you have people on your team who can’t see the opportunity for the challenges, you have two choices, put them in charge of getting the team past the challenge or turning them loose and find someone who will.
Create a culture on your team that nobody is allowed to just to complain, in other words, to consistently bring up problems without offering solutions. Sure, there will be times when they genuinely don’t know what to do, but you want them to invest some time thinking about it…unless they are utterly unable to contribute to a solution to the challenge at hand. And, if that’s the case, maybe you need to re-think their area of responsibility altogether.
When you embrace opportunity, no matter how difficult, you create a new sort of momentum. Instead of cautionary or reactionary, you now have the initiative, and that can free you up to take charge, do something – anything – to turn that challenge into progress.
Once that momentum is established, put the pedal down. Don’t talk about the challenge in terms of difficulty, discuss it in terms of logistics – how we will accomplish this rather than “how we will get past this.” Just this simple change in verbiage will deliver a much different mood and attitude in your office. First, there will be some pushback. People might balk, thinking it’s too simple or too optimistic. Yes, you will hear this, but the proof is in the result.
When you focus on the problem, you figure out how to fix the problem. When you focus on momentum, you solve the problem on the way to something bigger and better.
Chris Burch is a venture capitalist and founder of Burch Creative Capital.