Beyond Problems and Solutions: What Does This Make Possible? Thinking
Updated: Oct 1
Every day you wake up as the creator of your life, irrespective of anything that happened yesterday, whether it was good or bad or right or wrong. As the creator, there’s a landscape in front of you.
You could approach the day, the people you interact with, from the perspective of looking at where the problems lie. Or you could take stock of the landscape—which could even look like World War III—and ask yourself What does this make possible? —only because this is what is here. It is the quickest way to creating a more life-giving landscape going forward.
Our world was built using Problem-Solution Thinking, which encourages the brain to focus on problems. Yet our current, more complex landscape requires us to reevaluate using it as our default mode. Collaboration requires a new model to collectively engage our creative energy: The What Does This Make Possible? Model. It enables groups to rewire their brains to harness group stress, rather than avoid it, and use it to accelerate purpose and progress.When defining the problem includes people rather than logical processes, like fixing your car, our brains become messy; one-third to one-half of the brain shuts down as we focus on protecting ourselves from others judgment and actions.
Problem-Solution is a necessary and useful model that comes with the added dopamine hit of certainty that we get when we find the solution. It’s incredibly seductive, so why not use it everywhere?
To become more resilient, we must ask ourselves the question, What does this current landscape make possible? Feeling safe and connected is required in order to authentically engage our whole brain. The What Does This Make Possible? Model draws on our full hearts and minds, which in turn invites others to meet us there.
When your default Safety Brain mode is on, you naturally employ Problem-Solution Thinking and spend time scanning for problems. When you shift to the What Does This Make Possible? Model, you zero in on what you desire and engage your energy to design or invent what you want to experience. This enables you to envision what the landscape makes possible rather than focus on fixing what’s broken.
Times of Transition
When in a time of transition, where existing structures are changing, we have an opportunity to choose, and from there, design how we transform. The crux of this choice is between trying to build a better mouse trap through improvements to Problem-Solution Thinking, or engaging What Does This Make Possible? Thinking which enables our whole brain to be available to connect for the best outcome for everyone involved.
Our Brains are Wired to Protect and Connect
Our brains have two main functions that have emerged through millions of years of evolution; to connect us, and to keep us safe. We need both to survive. We call these two neural networks the Connected Brain and the Safety Brain. The human brain has a tendency to place Safety Brain on auto-pilot, and use Connected Brain as a secondary mode.
When your default Safety Brain mode is on, you naturally employ the Problem—Solution Model and spend time scanning for problems. When you shift to the Desire—Innovation Model, you zero in on what you desire and engage your energy to design or invent what you want to experience. This enables you to envision what the landscape makes possible rather than focus on fixing what’s broken.
Our culture has made the Safety Brain our main mode of interaction, which is why stress is so prevalent. In keeping the Connected Brain as a secondary mode, we restrict our creativity, productivity, and resiliency—both individually and collaboratively.
It's time to learn the tools to quiet the Safety Brain and use it to access greater clarity, while allowing the Connected Brain to become our primary mode of interaction.
We can upgrade the pattern thinking that causes anxiety and stress by learning to use stress as a messenger, which creates clarity of direction, ease of decision-making, and resiliency in the storm.
Relationships Benefit from Great Design
In a world where traditional roles and rules are either no longer applicable or don't fit the people involved, it is crucial to custom design the relationships, processes and strategies to fit the specific people and circumstances.
Rather than trying to squeeze into cultural norms, or mindlessly running autopilot habit loops of how it's always been done, we give you the tools to custom design your collaboration to increase adaptability, engagement, profitability, and trust.
Our tools help groups develop collaborative leadership behaviors, calm messy minds, and improve on what is already working.
It’s time to develop collaborative skills and capacities to transform stress and conflict into the way forward. Culture shift takes time, dedication, and heart, but your minds are the only things that stand in the way.
Our knowledge and tools help you create healthy, resilient minds that work better together. Let's connect!