Focus, Part II – How to maintain a solution-focused mindset

In the previous post we discussed the importance of being solution-focused as opposed to problem-focused. We discussed our tendency to focus on problems and the negative – all the reasons we cannot accomplish our objective.

To consistently have a solution focus, we need to shift our mindset. How do we do this? Oakley and Krug outline a 5-step method for maintaining a solution focus in their book, Enlightened Leadership.

The first step is to celebrate the small successes that you achieve. This will keep you focused on “what’s working” as opposed to “what’s not working”. Focusing on what’s working tends to energize us and we tend to focus on the positive. And being focused on the positive also keeps our minds and attitudes open more to change.

The second step is to look at your successes and think about the reasons why the things you are doing are working and effective. This will energize you as well, as everyone can agree that this is more enjoyable than focusing on what is not working. This step, according to Oakley and Krug, will also support your understanding of the real causes of effectiveness and it will allow you to consciously repeat what works, including utilizing it in other areas. All of this contributes to the learning of the process.

The third step is to continually re-clarify and refocus on your objective. As you do this, a picture of what success “looks like” will become clearer and clearer, with greater and greater detail. As the objective becomes clear, it tends to pull you in the direction until the objective is finally created.


The fourth step is to come to an understanding of the benefits of achieving the objective. If it is only you that is involved with a personal or career goal, think about how achieving the objective will benefit your family or others and then finally how it will benefit you. If you are in a team situation, think about how it will benefit the client, others in the company and how it will benefit you.

The final step is to constantly search for ways to move toward the objective. What can you do more of, better or differently, to get you to the goal?

By putting these steps into practice, you will notice a more positive attitude and energy not only in yourself, but if you are working in a team environment, with everyone involved. When working with others, everyone will not progress at the same pace – some will struggle initially. Be patient and remain positive. The payoff will be magnificent!