SOLUTION-MINDED
  • Developing creative approaches to fulfill the needs of others
  • Striving to succeed and staying positive even when encountering resistance
  • Searching for a resolution to satisfy the needs and requirements of all parties

COMMENTARY
In order to be Solution-Minded you must come up with solutions, but where do solutions come from?

Here is a “simple” riddle: Two fathers and two sons went fishing one day. They were there the whole day and only caught three fish. One father said, that’s enough for all of us, we will have one whole fish each. How can this be possible? The solution, if you don’t know it or don’t figure it out, is provided at the end of this article.
 
Many types of simple problems and questions often do not require a solution, they simply need an answer. Did it rain today? No. What is 2 plus 2? 4. However, there are more challenging situations and problems that require a solution. This is especially common with E-Rate!
Being Solution-Minded at Funds For Learning is one of our GuideMarks that gets used daily to support our clients, whether answering PIA, or preparing funding requests, or simply helping applicants navigate the vast, and sometimes complex, E-Rate program rules.
Finding solutions is about providing answers on another level; a solution indicates that the initial request or situation involves some degree of challenge. So where do solutions come from?

Knowledge and Experience – In some instances the solution to the problem may already be known simply by virtue of someone having been through a similar situation. Having a good team around you often affords the opportunity to have someone in your group to provide a solution based on their particular knowledge or experience. In other cases, it may be a solution for a situation that can be devised based on knowledge and experience gained in a previous situation, whether that’s the solution itself, or using a method of devising a solution that worked in a previous situation.

Options and Creativity – Sometimes what you need to arrive at the right solution is many solutions. Brainstorming – especially in a team setting where one idea can help spark another idea in someone else – is an effective way to provide options for how to solve a problem. Often there is only one solution to a problem however, when there isn’t just one, using some creativity to offer as many ideas that sound even remotely feasible can lead directly or indirectly to your solution.

Time and Effort – As I said earlier, a solution implies that there will be some sort of challenge to finding an answer; therefore, time and effort are more than likely needed to arrive at that solution. E-Rate is a deadline-driven sport so time and effort are not always as available as we’d like them to be, but this is what is most often needed to get to a solution. Thinking through the problem, viewing the problem from different perspectives, soliciting others’ input, asking questions, perhaps breaking down the problem into different pieces, even trial and error are all part of the time and effort often required to be solution-minded.
 
Solution-minded people likely realized logic dictates that if there were only three fish, then there were only three men. This is possible since a man can be both a father and a son at the same time. The three fishermen were (1) a Grandfather, (2) a Father, and (3) a Son; the Father being both a son to the Grandfather, and a father to the Son. Two Fathers, two Sons, but only three men.

Key Words and Phrases
Strive for an answer; Find a new way; Seek a resolution; Persevere; Solve a problem; Deliver the results; Don’t stop at the first hurdle; Address the need.

Opposite Terms
Close-minded; Decline; Reject; Refuse.

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GuideMarks – Distinguishing Characteristics of FFL E-rate Guides

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