5 Ways to Stop Solving the Wrong Problem

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” Peter Drucker

The leaders’ job is to help their team identify the RIGHT problem before coming up with a creative solution.

Leaders eventually row in the wrong direction when they keep looking at problems from the same perspective.

The skill of a rower is nullified when the boat is pointed in the wrong direction.

5 ways to scrutinize a problem from a 360-degree perspective:

#1. Select team members with diverse backgrounds to examine the problem from multiple perspectives.

#2. Ask each person to identify what they think the problem is and why it exists.

#3. Explore what is working, as well as what is not.

#4. Encourage team members to talk with EACH OTHER, not just the person at the head of the table.

Create a co-learning environment where rank is irrelevant.

#5. Build on each other’s ideas. Adopt a go-with approach, rather than a go-against approach. When a team member explains their view of a problem, say, “Yes, and ….”

Real problems precede real solutions:

It’s a waste of time to solve the wrong problem. But identifying the real problem is the beginning of a breakthrough solution.

Multiple perspectives expand your opportunity to generate creative solutions.

Try asking:

  1. What is the real problem?
  2. What and why is it happening?
  3. How can a creative solution be found?

How might leaders help teams identify the RIGHT problems?

How might leaders come up with creative solutions to the RIGHT problems?

This post is the combined work of Dan Rockwell and Teruni Lamberg.

Teruni Lamberg Ph.D. is an Associate Professor at the University of Nevada, Reno

Teruni is the author of: Leaders Who Lead Successfully: Guidelines for Organizing to Achieve Innovation and Conducting Productive Meetings: How to Generate and Communicate Ideas for Innovation.

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