The world is filled with problems. Big ones. Small ones. Some that seem easy to solve and some insurmountable.
Problems are prolific. Inescapable. A fact of life. It’s adequate solutions that are in short supply. That might appear odd considering how much has been written about problems and problem-solving. But most of what’s been written is centered on the disruption problems cause in our lives and the struggle most of us have with solving them.
If you search the web, it isn’t a problem at all… Identify what’s wrong. Analyze it. Describe it. Look for the root cause. Come up with solutions (multiple). Implement one – hopefully, the best one – and measure the results. That’s a quick seven steps to help you on your problem-solving odyssey.
But what if the problem you’re having is identifying the problem clearly enough in the first place.
You might need to take a look at the technology used in John G. Millers, The Question Behind The Question, and look beyond the obvious to determine if the problem you’re confronted with is really the problem that needs solving.
What do you do if that problem really is the symptom of something that goes deeper? The manifestation of something more obscure. How do you know when you’ve found what you’re really looking for? The answer is simple. You don’t… So, you keep digging.
Ultimately, you will need to analyze the problem. You’ll need to know how the problem manifests itself and specifically who is impacted? That’s the only way you will be able to describe the problem well enough for someone else to see it for what it really is? To see who really owns the problem.
Is it you? If the answer is no, you might not be the best choice to identify and execute or implement a solution. After all, can any of us remove another’s obstacles or resolve someone else’s problems?
Exercising the 5 Why’s helps. The 5 Why’s is a process for getting to the root cause of a problem by asking why something went wrong five times, removing potential problems layer by layer. Diving deeper and deeper into possible causes.
Somewhere in all of this, you must ask yourself two additional questions. What happens if we’re successful and solve the problem? What does the desired result look like? And, what happens if we fail? Who wins? Who loses?
Finally, if we are committed to a solution, we need to identify the resources necessary — training, equipment, tools, technology, a new and deeper understanding, etc. And, whether additional people (who?) will need to be included in that list of additional resources.
Einstein recognized the difficulty in all of this when he suggested that problems can’t be solved with the same level of awareness that caused them. That means trying to understand the problem in new and different ways. It means looking at multiple solutions before choosing the most elegant.
(For the record, just about everything we’ve discussed here will help us to learn from our successes.)
The good news is even if it seems like time is your enemy, it isn’t. Not, really. That’s because the problem isn’t likely to go away until somebody does something. So the real question is whether or not that somebody is going to be you!
To understand what precipitated this post take a look at Learning from Success on Misfirebook.com