I don’t have cable. My life is a wee bit busy and I know that access and availability would mean more wasted time in front of the TV. But I will confess that I really like watching Justified and one other show online. The other night I was watching Justified and one line stuck in my head. The mob is trying to find out where their target is located, and the tension is heating up. Here’s a quick replay of the exchange as I remember it:

Mob Guy: We have to find him before someone else does. We want this guy bad.

Local Guy: He is not at the location I thought he was.

Mob Guy: That’s a comment, not a solution.

solutions light bulbI loved that response, and I’ve kept it with me for the past few days as a reminder to keep my mouth shut if I don’t have something valuable to contribute to the discussion. I’ve held my tongue one or two times more than I usually would, so I’m going to count it as a success in that regard!

As long as we’re searching for answers, I’d like to point you to two other resources for keeping the focus on solutions.

Stop offering problems

It’s time to be proactive. Start looking for ways you can cut costs, streamline your functions, save time for managers, etc. Look for some solutions to age-old problems, not just new ones. Not sure where to start? Ask some of your managers what their biggest pain points are with regard to the HR or recruiting processes. Ask your senior leaders what their biggest concerns are at a corporate level. Then take that information and use it.

Want to know the fastest, easiest way to prove the value of the HR department? Solve a problem that plagues the management team. Yes, it seems simple, but it is often overlooked because HR tends to exist in its own little “bubble” and never takes the time to actually find out what the business needs are from the HR function.

Then take the time to communicate what you’ve found in the way of solutions to current problems. (Source)

Talk about how we can, not why we can’t

I absolutely love that quote (and the idea behind it). Instead of focusing on excuses or reasons you can’t make something happen, keep searching for ways to do it. Look for opportunities, not limitations. There are already enough people in the world who are ready and willing to tell you how something can’t be accomplished. Let’s work on cultivating more people that look for ways you can be successful. (Source)

Next time you have a meeting with a person or group of people, take a minute to think before you speak. Are you merely offering meaningless comments, or are you offering actual solutions to the problems at hand? Will your comments make the situation better, improve the outcome, or make someone’s life better, or is it all just talk?

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  • 3 thoughts on “Offer Solutions, Not Comments

    1. Loved this post. I was once at a training course and the trainer had a great suggestion about how to be a great coworker… continually ask yourself before speaking: “Am I being helpful?” It’s great advice.

    2. I love that advice. It’s so easy to complain without being constructive, but what does that accomplish? I get so frustrated in meetings when everyone is just piling on complaints–OK, we agree there’s a problem! Now what’s the solution?

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