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Showing posts from December, 2012

Focus on One Problem

It's tempting to tackle multiple problems simultaneously. Tempting, but usually less effective.

Centered problem solvers focus on the problem at hand.

The more problems we work on the better we get at it, but only work on one problem at a time.

Working on one problem often uncovers new problems. Write the new problems down and come back to them later.

Your main problem needs your immediate attention, or it wouldn't be your main problem.

Afterall, you'll likely never run out of problems. Why not solve them one at a time?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Holding Judgment at Bay

It's tempting to jump to judgement when wrestling with a troubling problem. When causes seem to emerge, we can want to punish them, hold them down, to take them apart. It could be the wrong course of action.

We need to stay centered. We need to stay curious. We need to probe deeper to the true cause and deal with it unemotionally, as tough as that is.

Centered problem solvers Identify the causes of a problem without judging them.

The goal is to find viable, sustainable solutions to the problem -- not to punish it.

-- Douglas Brent Smith

How Will You Interact?

Solving problems together is powerful. By bringing groups of people together to collaborate on solutions, new ideas are generated and new resources become available. But there are challenges.

What if you have differing agendas?

What if your schedules don't match?

What if you have different values?

When solving problems together start by agreeing on a set of guidelines for how you will interact.

The guidelines will be particular to your project. They may be unique to your group. They may take longer than you expected to reach agreement on. They will be invaluable to your problem solving success.

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Finding More Arms

On one hand, the bigger the problem, the tougher it seems. On the other hand, the bigger the problem, the more people are effected and the more potential help you have to recruit. Once people are invested in a problem they are much more likely to care about solving it.

If a problem is too big to wrap your arms around, find more arms to help you.

Sometimes all you need to do is ask.

-- Douglas Brent Smith