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Why ITIL Problem management needs the power of positive Psychology

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Earlier this month I attended the ITSMF QLD quarterly meeting and one of the speakers was Katherine O’Callaghan. To be completely honest with you – I wasn’t looking forward to her presentation as she was positioned as an academic who was presenting on her PHD studies around incident management.

You know me as a pragmatic person and the idea of listening to a PHD graduate didn’t really excite me that much.

I was wrong… her presentation was very good and insightful and not at all the boring dry story I anticipated.

One of the things that resonated with me was her idea around 2 types of problem resolution:

  1. Problem focused
  2. focused

Most of us tend to use option 1 but her study has shown that when you use a Solution focused approach the average MTRS was much lower.

This is completely in line with another presentation I attended recently from Dr. Tal Ben Shahar, who teaches positive psychology at Harvard. In his presentation he quoted case studies of  aid projects that failed (as in – didn’t achieve the positive outcomes they expected) because they only focused on the things that were going wrong… rather than asking the questions why certain things and certain people succeeded in spite of their situation (I’m paraphrasing now, but this is my understanding of his presentation).

Think about it: how can we use the power of and a solution focused mindset in our practices? Not just in dealing with major incidents and Problems, but in general.. Use it for Change Management, Capacity Management and Event Management. I am guessing you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve and how successful you and your team will be.