The Dream Workplace Components: Collaborative Problem-Solving

Ideas Puzzle Problem Solving Inspiration Creativity Concept

Team Circles, Coaching Conversations…these are two simple frameworks people use to build a Collaborative Workplace.  You can read my previous two posts to get a more detailed account of these tools.  Today, I’d like to how you how many of our clients work through problems and challenges collaboratively.

Let’s read one employee’s experience of their dream workplace’s approach to problem-solving:

At Tuesday’s problem-solving meeting, we tackled one of the concerns brought up at our Team Circle yesterday, following our structured problem-solving process. We restated the problem, and then we all began offering our ideas for fixing it. Whenever one of us makes a suggestion in a problem-solving meeting, we can always count on Dan, our team skeptic, to bring up at least three potential obstacles.

Dan has a reputation for being the “no guy” in our group, but we all appreciate how great he is at seeing things that might go wrong in any given situation. His track record for keeping our team out of trouble is impressive, so we respect his opinions and his wisdom. This particular meeting was no exception. Dan pointed out a couple of flaws in the idea I put forth, but I didn’t take it personally. Dan was respectful when delivering his critique, and he was right. The team simply moved on, generating lots of ideas and then prioritizing them based on their impact on the goal and the effort we’d need to execute them successfully.

During these meetings we set our egos aside, stay focused, and refuse to give up. And, as usual, we were able to arrive at a decision on the most effective ways to solve our problem, as well as specific actions to make it happen. To make sure we all agreed with the action plan, we used four Agreement Building Questions:

  • What did we decide today?
  • Who is going to do what? By when?
  • Who needs to know about this?
  • What is the message and the tone of that message?

These four questions should be asked at the conclusion of every meeting.  They ensure everyone is on the same page, a system of accountability exists, and important individuals who aren’t at the meeting are kept in the loop.

Download these Agreement Building Questions in our FREE Conversations Breakthrough Tool at

Give them a try and let us know how it goes.  After all, what have you got to lose?

Buy our #1 Best Seller, The Collaboration Breakthrough at


Amy A. Pearl

Amy is the Chief Optimizer at Work Ignited and the author of Amazon #1 Best Seller "The Collaboration Breakthrough". For almost twenty years, Amy and her team has provided strategic solutions and simple tools to help business leaders and HR professionals ignite their passion, ignite their teams, and ignite their workplaces. Amy specializes in helping individuals and entire organizations think differently and achieve more by bringing data to life through employee surveys, psychometric assessments, and 360° feedback assessments.

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