AB Thinks  →  18th October 2023

How to fix any workplace problem

We encounter many problems in our working lives. Sometimes they can feel insurmountable, near impossible to fix. But according to Anne Morriss, recent guest on the Internal Comms Podcast, there’s a method for fixing any workplace problem in just a week. Intrigued?

Anne Morriss is an entrepreneur, author, public speaker, and the Executive Founder of the Leadership Consortium, an accelerator dedicated to helping leaders thrive. Host of a recent TED Talk entitled ‘Five steps to fix any problem at work’ (which has 1.5million views and counting), and co-host of the Fixable podcast aimed at solving listeners’ workplace problems in just 30 minutes, she knows a thing or two about fixing things.

So how can we solve those seemingly insurmountable workplace issues in one working week?

“Figure out the plan before you tell people about it,” Anne told Katie Macaulay. “That’s really your agenda for Monday through Wednesday.”

And so, on Monday, identify your real problem. It’s simple as that.

On Tuesday spend the day running some smart experiments in how to solve it. Gather all your ideas, even those that you’re not so sure about. Use the day not for getting it right, but for testing and learning. Fail, then fail better.

By Wednesday, you’ll need to shake things up. You’ll never solve the multiple problems of a diverse workforce with singular thinking. So, “bring [in] new people and invite them to make it better,” says Anne. She calls day three ‘Make new friends day’.

You should be feeling pretty good about your plan, an important part of the process. “That’s  important part of the foundation,” she says. “That you really have a plan that you feel good about. You’re telling a story that you have conviction in.”

So, on Thursday, it’s time use that positive energy, craft that story and get buy-in from across the business. Get creative, and make sure you’re acknowledging the past, present and future. “There’s going to be a significant part of your population, particularly your employee base, that isn’t so sure about all your big plans,” Anne suggests. Consider what’s come before – what worked, what failed.

You’ll need to acknowledge the problem before suggesting how things can change – that’s essential for building trust among those harder to reach colleagues.

By Friday it’s time to ‘move fast and fix things’. This is the day to put your plan into action with urgency and show your colleagues that you mean business.

Learn more about Anne’s work in the full episode of the Internal Comms Podcast.