I recently had the opportunity to work with a group of people that were all very good at 'solving the problem.' After two weeks, I realized this was their downfall.
An example: Someone sees problem "A", and decides to duck tape fix the issue. The duck tape fix causes problems "B" and "C," which proceed to take the rest of the afternoon to solve. Each one of those fixes cause multiple strings of additional issues, each of which need to be addressed. The first solution actually causes a cascade of wasted time, money and energy that can't be stopped.
Every problem solved was a band aid on a bigger issue. They were so busy solving problems, they didn't consider the ramifications of the next problem that their solution created.
When I started asking them to define what the problem actually was, they stopped. That idea never occurred to them. It was more about 'solving' than 'defining.' This shift created a critical thinking process to the day; 'What is the underlying issue I am trying to solve, and what are a series of possible solutions that we could employ/'
The shorthand for it became DOS:
DISCOVER the underlying issue causing the problem.
OFFER multiple solutions, being aware to not fixate on any one solution and allow the brainstorming to happen.
SOLVE the underlying issue.
This little idea began to save multiple work hours and untold resources which could now be used to make things better, rather than constantly being reactive.
So ask yourself, are you currently solving the problem? Or are you addressing the underlying issue that created the problem?
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