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problem solving mindset

Using nudges to encourage a problem solving mindset

How to leverage nudges to encourage a problem solving mindset.

What are nudges and how can they shift mindsets and behaviours?


Ideas for how to start using nudges to encourage a problem solving mindset

To adopt a problem-solving mindset people need space to safely practice it. In doing this people’s confidence and proficiency to problem-solve will increase overtime, ultimately resulting in it becoming second nature (and transcending into every area of their work, including how they interact with customers). To create an environment where people feel able to practice problem solving, try using one of the following nudges each week within your team:

Nudge idea 1: Explore every avenue

When a team member suggests an idea, try asking:

  • ‘What would you need to implement your suggestion?’, or
  • ‘What’s the best way to quickly test a version of that idea?’

It seems like such a little thing that’s almost too simple to make a difference. However, it will make a big difference to that individual (and their idea) as it:

  • Demonstrates you welcome out of the box thinking and new ways of doing things.
  • Encourages individuals to think and bring new ideas to address a situation or challenge (ultimately building their confidence over time).
  • Shows ideas won’t instantly be rejected because of intricacies or a ‘that won’t work because’ mentality.

Nudge idea 2: Give ideas a helping hand

Every good idea needs a helping hand. So:

  • When a colleague tells you one of their ideas, instead of jumping in to solutions mode and shutting down the idea using language like ‘No, because’, try building on it with ‘Yes, AND’ or ‘Yes, Or’

This is such a simple reframing of a conversation, but it can make a big difference to an idea or solution as it:

  • Can kick off a conversation – using the initial idea (if necessary) as a springboard to get to a great end result.
  • Encourages collaboration and exploration.
  • Demonstrates that you welcome new ways of working and thinking, and that ‘what’s worked in the past’ doesn’t mean that’s how it needs to be done in future.

Nudge idea 3: Avoid knee-jerk reactions

Nothing kills a problem-solving mindset quicker than a knee-jerk negative reaction to a solution that didn’t quite go according to plan initially.

Such a reaction can trigger a fight or flight reaction which directly impacts an individuals/teams desire to come up with solutions in the future AND to deal with the problem they are facing right now.

So, when an individual or team face a problem ask:

  • “What were some of the wrong decisions we took that led us to this situation?” or ‘Where did our process break down?’ turning it in to a learning moment rather than a moment of blame or shame.

By approaching the situation with a generous mindset, you are able to explore ideas that will help stop the problem reoccurring, solve the situation as it stands and promote trust rather than blame or fear.

About the speaker: Meg Paterson

Meg is Client Solutions Director at Rubica.

She loves working with organisations to evolve their structures, mindsets and ways of working, to enable achievement of their strategic goals. Her experience in practical innovation, systems thinking, and behavioural science allows her to think holistically as she works with her clients to co-create solutions that are engaging and impactful at an individual, team and organisational level.

Learn more about Meg