15% solutions

Discover and Focus on What Each Person Has the Freedom and Resources to Do Now (20 min.)

You cannot cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water. – R. Tagore

What is made possible?

You can reveal the actions, however small, that everyone can do immediately. At a minimum, these will create momentum, and that may make a BIG difference. 15% Solutions show that there is no reason to wait around, feel powerless, or fearful. They help people pick it up a level. They get individuals and the group to focus on what is within their discretion instead of what they cannot change. With a very simple question, you can flip the conversation to what can be done and find solutions to big problems that are often distributed widely in places not known in advance. Shifting a few grains of sand may trigger a landslide and change the whole landscape.

  • In connection with their personal challenge or their group’s challenge, ask, “What is your 15 percent? Where do you have discretion and freedom to act? What can you do without more resources or authority?”
  • First alone, each person generates his or her own list of 15% Solutions. 5 min.
  • Individuals share their ideas with a small group (2 to 4 members). 3 min. per person and one person at a time
  • Group members provide a consultation to one another (asking clarifying questions and offering advice). 5 to 7 min. per person and one person at a time

WHY? Purposes

  • Move away from blockage, negativism, and powerlessness
  • Have people discover their individual and collective power
  • Reveal bottom-up solutions
  • Share actionable ideas and help one another
  • Build trust
  • Remember unused capacity and resources (15 percent is always there for the taking)
  • Reduce waste
  • Close the knowing-doing gap