See Challenges, not Problems

Originally Published on LinkedIn on April 20, 2020.

I am currently digging into the topic of employee and team resilience for a client. Resilience is a trait that will benefit you as it helps you manage an ever changing and often uncertain, complex, and ambiguous work environment.

Research has shown that how resilient an employee is, is heavily dependent on his or her personality, positive personality traits are important, as well as the work environment and culture of the company they work for. It has also shown that the right kind of environment can help you build up your resilience.

"There are no problems, only challenges"

This reminded me of my previous department head James Williams who always said (and I am paraphrasing here) “There are no problems, only challenges”. James was, he is now retired, a great department head and I had immense respect for his knowledge, experience and how he led the department.

However, at first I felt it was a bit too “spiritual” for me. I couldn’t help to become a bit annoyed when he corrected me when I said “problem”. Why did it matter if I said “problem” and not “challenge”?

But within weeks I saw how the use of “challenge” changed the mindset of the entire team. To have a challenge is something positive, to have a problem is not. To have a whole team see a challenge, rather than a problem, builds resilience.

This only goes to show that small changes can make a world of difference.

What word did you change / would you like to change in your workplace?