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Showing posts with the label centered problem solvers

Embrace the Problem

You didn't ask for the problem, and yet it's here.
You could ignore the problem, and yet it's still here.

What if that problem is here for you to grow? What if you can make more of yourself by helping someone else?

A problem is a platform for your advancement.

Ready, set, go.

-- doug smith

I help people develop leadership with clarity, courage, creativity, and compassion. To start a conversation on how we might work together, contact me here:

Sometimes, It IS The Relationship

Do relationships impact your problems? Maybe not always, but sometimes. Relationships can both help and complicate problem situations. How we attend to the relationship impacts the problem. Whether or not we attend to the problem affects the relationship.

Not every problem can be solved by helping a relationship, but those than CAN be, must be or they remain problems.

-- doug smith

What If We're Not The Problem?

Centered problems solvers know that while people are involved in problems, it does no good to ascribe blame. Whose fault is it? It almost doesn't matter, and looking for whose fault it is will distract you from actually solving the problem.

We were all involved.

When we look at it that way, and determine how we can each help contribute to a solution, the problem because more manageable. Solve the problem and let the people be the people.

We need to solve problems without making each other the problem.

No need to add a problem to your problem.

-- doug smith

It's Not About The Blame

Centered problem solvers don't know everything, but they do know this: blaming someone for your problem just gives you another problem.

Skip the blame. Create a solution.

-- doug smith

Ignorance in Problem Solving

It's frustrating to misunderstand a problem, or to deal with someone you are certain has misunderstood the problem. In that situation, influencing clarity is more difficult, and finding a solution stays clouded in ignorance.

The most troubling problems are rooted in ignorance.

You know that feeling that you're dealing with someone who just doesn't know what's going on? The frustration it causes, the distortion it encourages, the ignorance it perpetuates while frustration mounts?

What if you're that person, and you don't even know it?

The most troubling problems are rooted in ignorance, and sometimes we're the ones who do not know.

Centered problem solvers make room for that possibility - the chance that they do not know what they do not know.

It's not the solution, but it's a start.

-- doug smith

You Might Be Surprised

A problem might be showing us a new way to see a situation. It could be discordant without being destructive.

Some things looks problematic because they're difficult, or unexpected. Centered problem solvers take the time to breathe and to view the problem objectively. What's really going on? How much is situation and how much is perspective.

Inquire into what is going on. You might be surprised.

-- doug smith

Solve Problems for Yourself AND for Others

When you are solving a problem, do you consider the impact your solution will have on other people?

I've seen leaders who impose solutions on their teams that make the job worse, not better. While some degree of resistance to any solution is natural, your problem has a much better chance of staying solved if the solution you pick is supported by your team.

Does your solution make the job easier?
Does your solution make your customers happier?
Is your solution elegant and simple and yet robust enough to solve the problem?

The purpose of problem solving is to make life better for you AND for others. Centered problem solvers consider the needs of everyone impacted by the problem AND by the solution. Don't let your solution damage your solution. Change management is part of your task. Centered problem solvers do the whole job.

Do the whole job.

-- doug smith

Leadership Call to Action:
Before implementing the next solution you come to, check with the people who will be impacted by …

Solve the Unavoidable Problems

What's the good thing about unavoidable problems? You can't ignore them! They stand right there, in your way, waiting to be solved.

It's like a flat tire on your car. Ignoring it won't make it go away, so what do you do? You change it.

It's like snow on your sidewalk. You could wait until it melts, but people are at risk the whole time, so you shovel it.

Centered problem solvers recognize an unavoidable problem as a message to take action. They focus, balance, and engage.

Some problems are unavoidably annoying and present. They won't leave you alone.

So solve them.

-- Doug Smith

Find The Game

Do you see problem solving as a sort of game? Sure, you don't yet know the rules. The conflict shifts unexpectedly. The rewards are hard to spot.

It's a game that's hard to play if you let it get the best of you. Lots of problems have gotten the best of me, and you know what? I'm still working on solving new ones. The game is in the challenge.

I'm not a typical gamer. I don't play electronic games. I don't even have the patience for mobile games that become popular (the one exception was "Words With Friends" but I had one friend who so soundly defeated me over and over that she lost interest in the game -- and me, too).

Keep your interest. Keep your focus. Those problems aren't going away on their own. If it helps to think of your biggest problem as a game, then give that a go.

Here's a useful question to keep in mind: what do you get when you win?

-- Doug Smith

High Performance Leaders Solve Problems

Do you have "solving problems" as part of your formal job description?

Whether it's in there or not, you do realize that it's part of your job. For a leader, it's often most of the job. Solving problems in the business, solving problems in the organization, solving problems in your team.

The better we get at solving problems, the more able we are to achieve our goals. The two simply go together.

What are you doing to improve your problem solving skills?

-- Doug Smith

Collaborate Rather Than Dictate

Do you ever find it easy to identify the solution to someone else's problem?

Without the headaches and heartburn of the problem sitting in your own life, it can seem far more simple and easy to solve.

Seem. That does not mean that it is. And when we take on the problems of another without asking them what they've already done or plan to do, any solution that we do develop is likely to fall short. Ownership of the solution is just as important as creativity.

Sometimes solving someone else's problem for them is a big mistake.

Collaborate rather than dictate. Share ideas. Work together. Understand the problem at it's heart and center and not just on the surface. That takes time. That takes patience. And that takes collaboration.

Centered problem solvers collaborate with creativity, courage, clarity, and compassion. Leave any of that out, and the solution may be incomplete and ineffective.

We've all tried that already, haven't we? Why not start to get it right?

-- D…

Relieve Some of That Stress

What's your single biggest stressor?

Would you like to get rid of it?

For me, the biggest stressor in my life is usually also my biggest problem. The longer it stays a problem, the bigger and more gnarly it gets, which puts more pressure on me to solve it, which causes more stress.

I could do without that stress. But, it's there to help. Stress reminds us that somethings needs to be taken care of. Something needs to be fixed, found, or solved. Why not simply get started?

Solving your toughest problem may not relieve all of your stress but it sure helps focus it in the right direction.

Why not relieve some of that stress today? Get started!

Centered problem solvers realize that problems are not completely separate from themselves. We know not to take them personally, and yet they interfere with our personal selves. Instead of reacting in an immobilized way to the stress that produces, why not move forward. Figure out the root cause of the problem and then set about applying the …

Dig Deeper

If that problem has been around awhile, if that problem is cagey to the point of making you scratch your head, you might need many solutions. Many ideas.

Creative, centered problem solvers stay with the process long enough to develop more solutions that any one problem needs.

The gold is deep. Keep digging.

-- Doug Smith

Don't Be Scared!

I remember when my kids were little, every once in a while we'd tell them "don't be scared." Because, of course, they were. We're all scared sometimes.

Big problems can scare us. What on earth will we do? How will we ever solve such a tough problem?

That's our sign. Solve that thing. Get working on it. Don't be scared.

Fear of a problem is all the more reason to solve it.

Centered problem solvers don't internalize the fear of a problem - they energize around it.

You're not afraid of that little problem are you? Me, either.

-- Doug Smith

Ask The Tough Questions

Problems resist easy answers. That's why we need to ask the tough questions.

Why are things the way they are? What is the deeper cause? On the surface, we may think we understand a problem. Digging deeper, asking probing and open ended questions, we can get at the heart of what is really going on.

Are people being rewarded for incorrect behavior? Is someone benefitting from the problem situation? If so, who? Is it too easy to ignore the problem? Is the source of the problem aware that there is even a problem?

For example, those who most resist a fair distribution of work are those who may not be working too hard. Why change?  Executives making juicy bonuses may not even be aware of how hard it is to live paycheck to paycheck.

Creative problem solvers ask the tough questions with curiosity.

Not to judge. Not to punish. But to know. What's really going on?

Centered problem solvers use their creativity to separate people from the problem. They use their compassion to feel the disc…