Does your organization find problems and work to minimize them or find bright spots and work to maximize them? Are you even sure which approach you use the majority of the time and whether that specific approach is working effectively for your organization?
Supported by research in the field, both approaches have proven useful for organizations in the attempt to implement organizational change and develop long-lasting improvement initiatives. The key is knowing which approach to use when, for whom, in what context, and under what conditions.
Sometimes, a problem-focused approach calls for an in-depth root-cause analysis and tools like the fishbone diagram, system mapping, and driver diagrams that draw out the underlying causes and contributors to the problem (Bryk et al, 2010).
Other times, a solution-focused approach calls for identifying what is already working in various places in the organization and building on that success (Heath and Heath, 2017).