What if someone asks your help with an urgent problem and you've only got a few minutes? Is there a solution-focused technique you can use? There is. Alasdair Macdonald developed "SF Situation Management", a technique for rapid handling of day to day challenges by coworkers:
- When someone comes through the door, often in a state of concern or anger, immediately set aside your current tasks and give them your full attention. (But don't invite them to sit down.)
- Ask for a behavioral description: What happens? Who does what? When does / did it happen? Are we certain that this is happening? How do we know? Take brief notes.
- What small / first step will show us that the situation is moving in the right direction? What can be done? Who can do it? What is the next step in this situation? (Give space and have people come up with their own ideas first rather than offer advice.)
- When do we review this? What do we do to review this? A brief record of the outcome of the conversation can be added to your initial notes.
Time required: in general about four to five minutes. I like it. It looks simple and practical. It leaves out searching for causes, and focuses on facts and next steps.
Source: Alasdair Macdonald: “Solution Focused Situation Management: Finding Cooperaton Quickly”, in: Lueger & Korn (eds.): “Solution Focused Management”, Rainer Hampp Verlag, München 2006; pg.61ff