In the wrong tone of voice, a question such as “What’s Your Problem?”, can sound a bit aggressive and threatening, especially if you’re in a crowded bar. But in business it’s an absolutely essential one, as long as it comes with a desire to find a solution.
What’s your problem? was the starting point for our journey to reimagine the way of delivering team development programmes. In a world where more people are working remotely, away from shared offices and from their team colleagues, our clients recognised they had a problem. And drilling down, it became clear that there was a whole list of associated problems to solve. It wasn’t just an alternative delivery mechanism that was needed, but one that would contribute to client sustainability goals, drive high levels of willing engagement, and result in highly effective remote teams. And it couldn’t be Zoom or Teams, because those platforms were too associated with dry business meetings and do not have any learning content.
Sometimes, when you identify a problem, you immediately get stuck. My business has been creative high performing teams through face-to-face interventions for decades and hearing my client’s woes resonated with me because that face-to-face work was in short supply throughout the pandemic years. It was my problem also. And being in the thick of it was a bit scary. I knew I couldn’t solve it alone. Fortunately, I had worked out where to look.
I remember a manager of mine once telling me, “I don’t want to know your problem, give me solutions.” At the time I found it quite rude. Dismissive even, which may have been the intention, of course. It threw the onus directly back on me, absolving my manager from any responsibility for helping me. In my head I was thinking all sorts of negative things, most of which can’t be repeated here! But predominantly I was thinking, “if I already had a solution, it wouldn’t be a problem, so I wouldn’t need to bring it to you, would I, oh great and bountiful leader!”
But over the years I have come to realise that the answers to most problems we encounter are there to be found around us or within us, even if they might seem unpalatable or challenging. Its why I eventually qualified as a coach and pursued a coaching career. Now I do want to hear your problems, and be part of finding a solution. When I realised that the gaming industry had already worked out the power of multiplayer collaboration it wasn’t too much of a leap to imagine how this technology could be used to drive collaborative team learning online. In our business we already had the learning content: we only needed the delivery vehicle. Only!
Finding solutions, or turning those solutions into a reality, is often a collaborative process. Whether it is working with a coach to work it out of you or using Action Learning Sets to open up new possibilities or amassing a great team around you and bouncing ideas around. We should still ask for help, offer help, and engage in joint problem solving, but without diminishing our own capacity to help ourselves. So, our business started recruiting game makers graphic designers, software developers, video makers, immersive technology experts, and product specialists. And we worked closely with one of our partner companies, Gazooky Studios. With this powerful combination, matching technology with our years of team development expertise and proven learning material, we’ve been able to find an incredible solution. I use the word ‘find’ deliberately. Yes, it has been a creative process, but in a sense the solution was sitting there waiting to be found. Many of the individual components were out there, but just not in the same place. The result is Muster.
What we have done is put our own creative spin on it, and loaded it with our playful approach to learning, making it our own. It has become our solution, but one we want to share with you.