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I Can And I Will

‘I can and I will’ is an important belief to have when dealing with adversity. Everyone you want to engage, influence and encourage needs the knowledge and conviction they can overcome the obstacles they face. Their health, happiness and productivity depend on it.

Developing the ‘I can and I will’ point of view requires the ability to accurately analyze the root cause of a problem before a solution is selected. Karen Reivich, author of The Resilience Factor, says, “If we’re unable to assess the cause of our problems accurately, then we are doomed to make the same mistakes over and over again.”

What do you say to yourself when faced with a problem? What’s your automatic response when dealing with adversity? We all have a habitual way of explaining the good and bad things that happen in our world. Our beliefs about the cause of a problem is a learned response that either helps or hinders our ability to identify and execute the appropriate solutions to the obstacles in our way.

All of us can get better at analyzing the root cause of a problem and do it quickly if we are willing to learn new ways of responding when adversity strikes. Unfortunately, it’s also easy to stay in our comfort zone and keep doing the same ineffective things again and again.

It’s up to leaders at all levels to provide the challenge and support individuals need to become more effective at analyzing all the causes of their problems before selecting the best solution. No one has the time or energy to waste on executing plans that have been built on faulty assumptions.

Remember, the definition of ‘insanity’ is doing the same thing over and expecting a different result. If you want to help others change their approach, you can begin by asking them to analyze how they think about problems. Karen offers this survey to help you accomplish that objective.

Please print out this part of her Resilience Test (Causal Analysis) and rate each item for how true it is of you, using the following scale.

1 = not at all true 2 = sometimes or somewhat true 3 = moderately true 4 = usually true 5 = very true of me

Causal Analysis

  1. _____ When a problem arises, I come up with a lot of possible solutions before trying to solve it.

  2. _____ When a problem arises, I think carefully about what caused it before attempting to solve it.

  3. _____ I don’t spend time thinking about factors that are out of my control.

  4. _____ In most situations, I believe I’m good at identifying the true causes of problems.

  5. _____ When trying to solve a problem, I trust my instincts and go with the first solution that occurs to me.

  6. _____ I’ve been told I misinterpret events and situations.

  7. _____ I’ve been told that I jump to conclusions when problems arise.

  8. _____ I think it’s important to solve problems as quickly as possible, even if that means sacrificing a full understanding of the problem.

I Can And I Will

If you scored low on this survey, the next time you’re faced with a setback, before creating a solution, ask and answer these questions:

  1. What caused the problem?

  2. What else could have caused the problem?

  3. What else could have caused the problem?

  4. What would a co-worker, client, family member, or friend say caused the problem?

  5. What evidence is there to support each of your answers to the first four questions?

Your goal should be to go beyond your first habitual response and find something new that might be contributing to the problem. Getting more accurate in your assessment about what caused the problem will help you identify a better solution.

The people you lead want to be able to say ‘I can and I will’ when it comes to solving their problems. They just need a leader like you to help them excel at it.

Let’s Get Better. Together! Bill Durkin


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