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Showing posts from January, 2016

Muscle Up!

Solving problems builds mental muscle.

Muscle up!

-- Doug Smith

Ramp It Up

When you're passionate about problem solving the possibilities are endless.

Ramp it up!

-- Doug Smith

Centered Problem Solvers Keep Learning

What will you learn today to help you solve tomorrow's problems?

Learn constantly. Every single day.

-- Doug Smith


Sometimes the smallest shift in thinking and acting creates the biggest impact.

Get ready to shift.

-- Doug Smith

More than one solution

If that problem has more than one cause it might need more than one solution.

Keep digging.

-- Doug Smith

Forget the Blame

Blame can feel good, but it does not solve a problem. And to someone, that blame feels terrible.

We don't need to blame anyone for their problem in order to help them make it better.

Drop the blame. Drop the excuses. Center yourself. Get busy solving the problem.

-- Doug Smith

Work on the Relationship

Have you ever been in a problem that seems completely caused by the people involved?

While most problems are process or design in nature, sometimes people are at the heart of it. And, fixing people is tough. Possibly impossible. I don't recommend it.

But there is a way to ease the issue. Without fixing people, we can fix our relationships with those people. We can increase our communication, spend more time, listen and understand more clearly what's going on.

Sometimes that's my favorite question when I work with a group that is stuck in a problem: what's going on?

Sometimes it's faster to work on our relationship before we work on the problem.

Because sometimes the problem is the relationship.

What relationships do you have that need more attention? What will you do to deliver that attention?

-- Doug Smith

Center Yourself First

Your problem can wait for just one thing. Your problem can wait until you are centered. You'll be better equipped. You'll be less likely to grab incomplete solutions. You'll be calm, focused, and flexible.

Our problems are easier to solve once we ourselves are centered.

Try that first.

-- Doug Smith

Focus On Possibilities

Are you held back by your problems? Do they seem to limit who you are or what you can do?

They will continue to do that if you let them, but only if you let them.

I've let problems inhibit my possibilities, but now I work to reverse that flow and let my possibilities limit, control, manage, or eliminate my problems. It's a useful switch.

Our problems don't limit us -- we do. Our possibilities can overcome any problem.

Why not expand your possibilities today and see how well that helps?

-- Doug Smith

Learn From An Imperfect Solution

How does it feel when the solution that you've implemented doesn't quite work?

That frustrates me. All that work. All that thinking. And the solution is imperfect.

Well, guess what? Many solutions are imperfect. Maybe every solution that is available to you is imperfect. We do live in an imperfect world.

We can still benefit from imperfect solutions. We can still grow and learn from the results that we achieve, even when they are flawed or temporary.

Just because a problem doesn't stay solved doesn't mean that the solution wasn't valuable.

Maybe it served a short term end. Maybe it solved a key part of the problem. And maybe, just maybe, it's a way to learn and find our way to a better solution. Broken solutions lead to better solutions. Problems test and expand our creativity.

Centered problem solvers know that the problem solving is never done. Evolving solutions is part of the deal.

-- Doug Smith

Looking for a way to bring your team together to collaborate on…

Release Those Pre-conceived Notions

Centering, to help in solving a problem, requires seeing things the way they are, not the way you think they should be. It's not seeing things the way you thought they would be, either. It involves seeing as is.

To do that, we need fresh eyes. We need to be able to let go of our expectations. We need to remain open to possibilities and to surprises.

Centered problem solving requires the release of pre-conceived notions.

Give your inner judge a break. Let go of expectations. Stay curious.

-- Doug Smith

Centered Problem Solvers Build Relationships

When you are solving a problem with a team, how much time do you spend developing that team? How much attention do you pay to the chemistry of that team and to your team relationships?

Does it matter?

I think it does. Teams that get along do better work. People who build relationships while seeking better results usually end up with both. We can't ignore people and expect them to give us their best.

People on a problem solving team don't have to like each other, but it helps.

How can we get people to like each other?

Here are a few ways that I've found helpful:

Reach agreement on your team's values. What traits are most important?Set agreements on how you'll interact with each other.Listen, listen, listen.Spend time with each other. There's no such thing as quality time, only time. Invest it in your team.
What ways have you found to be helpful in building strong relationships in a problem solving team?
-- Doug Smith