What’s Your Problem?

Posted on Oct 8, 2012 | 0 comments


Most of the time we think we have the problem (any problem) right before us. It’s the solution, or rather finding the solution that’s the problem, right?

Well, sometimes. Often the problem is quite simple, easy to understand and all that’s required is to determine the ‘best’ solution and just get on with it.

But other times, and this is more common than we generally suppose, the problem is the problem.

What is meant by this?

Einstein provides a clue. He is reputed to have said that if he had one hour to save the world he would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution.

What Einstein meant was that to find effective solutions we first need to spend the right time and effort in truly understanding the problem, the real problem, not merely the problem as someone else has defined it or as it appears to be. So often in life and business people spend time, money, effort and other resources on problems that aren’t the real problems – they just appear to be.

Or we solve the problems that appear easier and quicker to solve rather than tackle the one we don’t quite understand.

Here are some quick tips on how to address problems:

1. Can the problem be clearly stated and defined?

If the problem cannot be clearly laid out and the following questions simply and clearly answered, then don’t move on until they are, you’ll be solving the wrong problem:

(a)    What is the need?

(b)   What is the desired outcome?

(c)    Who stands to benefit and why?

 2. How great is the need for a solution?

(a)    Can the required effort be justified in line with the overall business strategy?

(b)   How can we implement the solution in a manner that justifies the costs?

(c)    How do we measure the results?

 3. How have others addressed this or similar issues?

(a)    How did they do it and can it be applied to this problem?

(b)   What constraints (budgetary, technical, resources) exist?

(c)    Can others help?

The best way to address most problems is to first understand them. This begins with questions, lots of them. So don’t start on an attempted solution till you’ve exhausted the useful questions.

How can JWA Business & Wealth help?

At the JWA Business & Wealth strategy division we’re experts at defining problems and helping to develop simple and effective solutions. The problem is often not what you think it is so let us help, an initial chat to discuss the situation and provide some basic information is fee free – it just requires a little of your time and ours.

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