Friday, November 28, 2014

Problem Solving: It's All a Matter of Perspective

Performance management applies to so many different areas of my life lately that it has been difficult to recognize how significant this has been. The amount of work I need to apply to different extensive projects, and by extension my enjoyment of doing these projects, has both depended on the way I am training myself to look at each challenging step along the way. In this vein fully embracing each step and activity has not necessarily been a part of my grand strategy. Currently my perspective is to over-identify problems. I am no longer first and foremost a problem solver, I am a problem finder. I don't see problems as obstacles to hurdle I see them as things that require work and diligence. In this way I know that there are no short-term goals, only short-term problems to be climbed over on my way to long-term objectives.

Often you can only choose to address one or two at any time!

This wasn't always the case, for most of my career I've self-styled myself to be a 'problem-solver,' now as I've grown and developed in both my career and personal life I've come to learn that the problem solver is only as effective as their ability to identify the problems. Solutions are actually often relatively simple and straightforward, asking difficult questions and posing abstract problem scenarios can be extremely challenging and creative. A truly great problem solver cannot be effective if they don't have the proper perspective required to identify the truly significant problems and challenges they are currently or soon will facing. Some of the worst teams I have been involved in have all suffered as a result of poor problem identification and prioritization. In this way it is surprising to me that there are so few articles written on the subject of problem identification and athletics. I know I've been frustrated with coaches in the past who've not seemed to be able to grasp a problem I've tried to present to them. Of course the other hand is that I've often brought up concerns that bothered me personally but that were not relevant.

You have more important things to be focusing on right now!
Using problem solving is only as effective as your ability to problem identify. In this respect it may be better to over-identify problems while having an efficient system for prioritizing your solution management. At the least you will be less likely to be completely surprised by outlier events that pose a challenge to you meeting your objectives.