team building executive coaching and problem solving expert michael cardus

Most of our day is spent making decisions and solving problems. Some problems we can figure out on our own, and some we need help & access to resources outside our grasp.

Often when we encounter a problem, we think we need to discover the “why.” We must dig and chase and determine “why we have this problem?”

Chasing the why does not create a solution

Here are 6 steps to turn a problem into a solution without using ‘why.’

Step 1 – Situation

Ask How should this system operate? Or, How should the team get this done? Or, What should be happening instead of the problem?

  • Framing the Situation: how the work should happen is a step towards solving it. Like Russ Ackoff stated, “If you cannot describe what you want to have happen with no constraints, how can you expect to have it happen with the current constraints you are dealing with!?”
Step 2 – Observer

Think – If someone outside this team was to see this problem solved, what would they notice? Or, If we were doing what we should, how would I see the team reacting? Or, If this problem is suddenly solved, how will I notice it is working?

  • Taking an Observer mindset will get you out of your head by shifting your perceptions to find steps that may move the solution closer.
Step 3 – Level

Determine on a scale from 0 – 10, with 10 being that things are working exactly as they should, 0 being the opposite; where are you now?

  • Leveling your solution into a measurement will allow you to have some friction to grab, pulling the solution closer.
Step 4 – Validation

What is already working well enough to keep you where you are on that scale?

  • Validating examining what is working well and how you can keep that number as high as it is might point to some ideas of what to do.
Step 5 – Exception

Is there a place, time, location, or something somewhere where your solution has happened or is already happening, even just a little bit?

  • Seeking Exceptions breaks the psychological inertia of ‘always the same damn thing’ to …it is already happening over there, and we can make that happen here.
Step 6 – Decision & Direction

Based on what you know/think, what is your first small step to solving this?

  • It is time for Decisions & Direction, choosing 1 small step to create progress and testing to find what works and do more.
There it is 6 steps to turn a problem into a solution.