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How to take a solution-oriented approach to resolving problems - Thrive Global

Separating problems from people

Great leaders separate problems from people. They ask questions until they understand the issue.  

A clear understanding of a problem delivers two-thirds of the solution. By doing so, they can approach the situation fairly and find a suitable solution.

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How to take a solution-oriented approach to resolving problems - Thrive Global

How to take a solution-oriented approach to resolving problems - Thrive Global

https://thriveglobal.com/stories/how-to-take-a-solution-oriented-approach-to-resolving-problems/

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Key Ideas

Use the why lens

Great leaders only solve problems within their control. Ones connected to their biggest why. They ask:

  • Is this our problem?
  • Why should we solve this problem?
  • What happens if we don’t?
  • How would the solution contribute to accomplishing our most important goals?

Problems as opportunities

Problems fuel great leaders, providing opportunities to learn and grow to the next level. 

The greater the problem, the hungrier they are for a solution. Leaders like Richard Branson, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates view problems as golden opportunities to disrupt the market and revolutionize the customer experience.

Acknowledging the problem

Great leaders acknowledge there is a problem and demonstrate the severity of the problem and the benefit of the solution to stakeholders, partners, and shareholders. 

This way, the leader not only takes responsibility for making the problem transparent, but he or she also explores different dimensions of the problem, consequently benefiting from others’ ideas.

Separating problems from people

Great leaders separate problems from people. They ask questions until they understand the issue.  

A clear understanding of a problem delivers two-thirds of the solution. By doing so, they can approach the situation fairly and find a suitable solution.

Pointing fingers

Great leaders know that finger-pointing does not solve problems. It only adds new ones.

Instead, a leader starts problem-solving by narrowing down the issue. When the problem has been addressed and potentially solved, they ask their team members what they learned from the experience and how they can improve vulnerable areas.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Remain objective

Great problem solvers approach each new problem as though it were brand new. 

That way they can apply a specific solution to the problem instead of a fix that may go only partway.

List the obstacles

Great problem solvers take a high-level view of the issues involved and jot down a list of all the potential factors that could get in the way of a solution. 

Identify the opportunity

So many times great opportunities are wrapped up inside simple problems.

The problem at hand may be symptomatic of bigger problems with your systems or perhaps your industry.

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Small Thinking And Big Thinking

Companies, teams and individual achievers are sharply focused on achieving goals. But this focus on completion often limits the scope of the results and stifles innovation.

There is a ...

Create Specified Time For Thinking

Set aside time to tackle a problem and then use the entire time. Don't head for the door after the first good idea, as there may be bigger and better ideas to come.

Encourage Outside Learning

Bring facilitation techniques to encourage participation.

By giving team members time and resources to grow, learn, and explore you get a better quality and wider brainstorming. 

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Albert Einstein
“The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple.”
Albert Einstein
Ask Questions

The right questions are at the heart of discovery. And one of the very first questions you should be asking yourself is “What assumptions can I challenge?”

The mere act of trying to discover what assumptions you and others are making can give you a new perspective on the challenge you're facing.

Discover the Core Problem

Go beyond the basic features being asked for and get to the heart of the problem.

Ask questions like: Who cares about this problem? Why is it important to them?

If there are no good answers to these questions, is the problem even worth working on?

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Meta-Skills

A meta-skill is a high order skill that allows you to engage with functional expertise more effectively

It magnifies and activates other skills and is a catalyst for learning an...

Skills And Meta-Skills

Skills are temporary; meta-skills are permanent.

Learning a second language gives you a skill, a learned ability. A meta-skill, on the other hand, is your ability to learn new languages. Developing that meta-skill, makes it easier to learn a third or a fourth tongue.

Alvin Toffler
Alvin Toffler

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."

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Basic steps to solving any problem
  • Understand the Problem, so you know you're actually focusing on the the real issue at hand.
  • Create a Plan, so you have a series of actionable steps to follow.
  • ...
Understand the Problem

Often the most difficult step, because it's easy to focus on the wrong part of the problem, or look at the problem too broadly.

The first thing you need to do is reduce it to its simplest and purest form so you know exactly what you're dealing with. While you're doing this, you need to ask yourself questions to make sure you're focusing on the right things. 

Create a Plan

You need a plan with actionable steps. Ask yourself what's barring you from moving forward and make step one. Step one will open doors to other steps. 

Consider which steps will open more doors, add them to the plan, and keep doing that until you get to your solution. Things will change as you act on the plan and you'll need to adapt, so it's best to keep your plan somewhat open-ended and try to include steps that involve preparing for trouble you can foresee. 

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The Pressure Of Time

Most leaders have familiar approaches to managing time: setting goals, planning, delegating, tracking commitments, and creating to-do lists. While these approaches do help in self-organization, the...

Sustainable Productivity

Instead of increasing the number of productive hours, we can focus on getting the right things done in a timely way. We also need to restore and balance ourselves, our colleagues, family and environment, instead of a neurotic or pathological focus on deadlines.

Find out what's truly important to us and use the finite resource of time wisely.

Phantom Workload

Phantom workload looks like real work but results in massive unproductivity and even conflict in an organization. The pressure to meet unrealistic expectations causes a vicious cycle of further workload.

Leaders need to take a hard look at what is being avoided or not addressed. Facing difficult tasks that were 'swept under the carpet' earlier strengthens them further to make hard decisions and face difficult people and situations.

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