Critical Thinking and the Statement of Your Problem
Sally had just received a warning that for the third week in a row she had missed her sales targets and was required to attend a coaching session. Her boss had hired me as the outsourced sales manager because as she put it, “I can monitor sales results, but I don’t seem to be able to change them. I need someone to train and manage my team for me, without having a full time employee.”
Sally was feeling defensive when we started our session. She had a list of reasons why she hadn’t achieved her targets:
- Offices were closed and people working from home;
- Economy was tight and uncertain;
- Everyone else’s sales were also lower;
- Struggles of working from home;
- Personal issues…
It all added up to: “None of this is my fault.”
I could see her point. Actually, that was a large part of the problem. She was bringing her emotional perspective into the problem rather than thinking critically about what her real problem was, and how to solve it.
Andrew had a similar problem except, in his case as the business owner, it wasn’t a question of an external reprimand that kept the problem top-of-mind. The problem was reflected in his bank balance and cash flow issues. He came to me and said, “The clients I get argue over every item on the bill and there just aren’t enough of them to cover my costs and make this worthwhile! What am I going to do?”
Notice that Andrew, as a business owner, was looking for a solution, where Sally (the employee) was mostly complaining about how unfair it was to be held to account for her performance in tough times.
BUT… They were both looking in the wrong place for the solution.