Good problem solving advice

December 30, 2011

In her Forbes blog post Start the Year Like Albert Einstein, Erika Anderson offers good problem solving advice. She advises following Einstein’s advice to get clear about what your challenge is before thinking about solutions. Point is often couples, teams, colleagues etc try to solve a problems while everyone has a totally different perspective on the issue.

Ms. Anderson’s 3 steps are:

  1. Ask: What Isn’t Working? You’ll get better results if you figure out what’s not working before you fix it.
  2. Ask: How Can We (or I)… Once you’ve answered #2, it should be much easier to frame the challenge quite simple because you’ll know what it is!
  3. Ask: Would This Feel Like Success?  Anderson calls this your “checking question” and a way to be sure you on are the right track before you move towards addressing your challenge.

Oh, and the Einstein quote that started this train of thought is:

If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions —  Einstein

Powerful leadership advice and certainly helpful negotiation steps. Good luck!


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