Leadership lessons from a homeless person – how to own the solution

It’s all too easy in life to own your problems

“My team just can’t deliver what I need them to”

“I just can’t find the time to look after myself properly”

There’s simply nothing that can be done.

Owning the problem can be a source of comfort and perverse pleasure.

For a while we absolve ourself of any responsibility and just submit to fate.  We allow ourself to  wallow in a delicious stew of helplessness.



A Different Point of View

Last week I met Ian – a homeless man living on the streets and hostels of London.

“Can you spare some money to help me get off the streets” he asked

“Sorry I don’t have any cash” I (honestly) replied.

“Aha – I have one of these” he responded, pulling a point of sale machine from his fleece pocket.  “Does that change things?”

Ian explained that he faced a big problem – lots of people don’t carry cash (or claim not to).  He could have let this beat him.  It could have been another blow reinforcing his inevitable fate.  Instead he took the initiative.

He found out you can hire a POS machine for £29 a month and persuaded a provider to give him one.  Genius.

We talked for a long time and he shared his story and his ambition to buy a set of tools and get work as a mechanic.  I was happy to do my bit to help him.


It feels good to own the solution!

When we switch to owning our solutions, it creates a feeling of empowerment that is infectious and aligns others with your cause.

Maybe it’s time to recognise how you contribute to your team’s performance, or how your procrastination is impacting your ability to exercise.

This enables you to start crafting solutions from a new perspective.  You’ll see how the world looks and responds differently from this perspective.

Release your inner Ian and see how owning the solution can change your world.