Solving Thorny Problems

Solving Thorny Problems

Executives are hired to solve problems. With constantly increasing pace, volume, and pressure, it can be difficult to access the problem-solving areas of your brain. The next time you’re faced with a thorny problem, try this technique:

  • Clearly state the question you’re trying to answer. Boil the issue down to the one central problem you want to resolve.
  • Write it down.
  • Walk away—literally. Think of the question. Get up and walk for 20 minutes without any distractions—no phone, music, etc. The very act of walking will allow you to access the right hemisphere of your brain where your creativity resides. Ponder as you walk.
  • Write down your conclusion. This is important because the act of writing helps you commit to your answer.
  • Tell others what you’ve decided. Doing so will keep you accountable and will move your project forward faster.

Remember: the more you look for quick fixes, the worse the underlying problem often becomes.

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