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Forbes: 4 Steps To Solve Any Problem At Work

10 Sep 2020
An experiment from the Academy of Management showed that making the simple switch from “should” to “could” led participants to generate more creative solutions to challenges.

Originally found at Forbes, by Ashley Stahl.

Problems exist everywhere. 

But so do solutions.

The workplace is littered with problems that need to be solved on a daily basis, bet it a customer complaint, a quality issue, budget cuts, or communication issues and team dynamics. 

With all of these problems to be solved, it should come as no surprise that one of the top traits employers look for in hiring talent is someone who’s a great “problem solver”...but what does that really look like? 

In my years of working with clients who feel stuck, don’t like their current job or are unsure of how to start their dream business (all of which are problems waiting to be solved), I have come to realize that problem-solving isn’t simply the ability to fix issues when they come up; it comes down to how much focus you can bring to identifying the problem itself.

As Albert Einstein puts it, “If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it.”

And yet, in a world where instead of listening, we’re often preparing our responses to others, it would appear that we rarely follow his advice. 

In most instances, we jump straight into action to put out a fire, rather than take the time to understand where the flame is starting from in the first place. We don’t spend time up-front to understand what the problem we’re actually solving is, which leads to spending time focused on aspects that don’t actually get to the root of the issue.

Continue reading the original article at Forbes.

Read the original research in Academy of Management Journal.

Read more about the original research in this AOM Insights Summary.

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