Wrong thinking may lead to the right solution

February 6, 2019

Back view business woman raising hand for asking speaker for question and answer concept in meeting room for seminar

At Vanguard Resources, we’re just as interested in the “manager” portion of the Facility Manager title as we are in the “facility” part. One thing any manager has to deal with at some point in their job is to come up with ideas and/or solutions to various problems. As we’re ever on the lookout for new ways of approaching old problems, we thought we’d share an idea that’s been gaining some momentum: wrong thinking or reverse thinking.


To solve a problem, rather than search for the best possible solution, search for the absolute worst.


Why do this? If you are faced with a problem or decision and you’re able to come up with the best answer right away, then go for it. If, on the other hand, you’re stuck or you’re out of ideas and you need a fresh approach to the problem, give this a shot.


Wrong thinking flips the script, so to speak, to allow you to see truths you had previously ignored. So, rather than say, “How do we prevent X from happening?” or “Which solution is going to deliver the best ROI?” try saying, “How do we ensure X happens?” or “Which solution is going to be the biggest waste of money?” As ridiculous as these alternative questions may at first seem, they can force you to examine why you and your team came up with your answers. If you’re trying to fix a problem, you may not actually know what’s causing the problem to begin with. By asking, “how to we intentionally make this problem happen?” you and your team may find the cause that’s eluding you.


Great for brainstorming

People often feel intimidated to speak up during brainstorming sessions for fear of appearing wrong or silly—even when the manager assures everyone that no idea is incorrect. If everyone’s job is to intentionally come up with the craziest, most ridiculous ideas, people who are normally quiet will speak up. This creates a no-risk atmosphere that encourages engagement, and you may just stumble on to the solution you’ve been seeking.


Next time we’ll discuss Janusian Thinking, similar to Wrong Thinking.


For more ideas on how to be a better facility manager, contact Vanguard Resources.