The 12 Rules of Problem Solving

Sometimes all of the motivational mantras in the world still are not enough to make you feel better. When you have a problem, a really big problem, a real whopper, the last thing you need is to have someone say “Problems are just hidden opportunities!”  Or “There are NO problems, only solutions.”

When we have a problem, it’s uncomfortable, it doesn’t feel good and sometimes dealing with it can be physically debilitating. The fact is most business people are not equipped to handle problems of any kind. It’s just something that’s not taught and many suffer greatly. The skill required in order to be an effective problem solver in business and/or life is a learned skill and a skill that I believe to be essential to long term survival and growth both personally and professionally.

As with everything, there are some very effective and foundational methods to help you in dealing with problem solving. Here is just one that I often offer to my business coaching clients.

  1. Start with SOLITUDE. Step back and find somewhere that you can sit quietly for at least thirty minutes. Get away from the mob.
  2. Listen to classical music if you can! Studies show that soft, instrumental (NO vocals) music playing while you’re problem solving actually aids in the process. It’s very important that it’s soft instrumental music. The mind processes everything it sees and hears, and when there is loud up-tempo music with vocals, the mind is trying to process that while you’re trying to think. I like classical guitar music to think by. The music relaxes the mind allowing it to be more receptive to free and creative thinking.
  3. Sit with a pad of paper and write. Write down on the top of the pad your particular problem or question.
  4. Clearly define the problem/situation. Be very specific about the issue. The more complete and clear the more successful you’ll be.
  5. Ask yourself, “What are all the causes of this situation?”
  6. Now, force yourself to brainstorm the issue and focus on creating no less than 20 answers or solutions.
  7. Only think about and focus on solutions and determine what is right before what is possible?
  8. Stay on task until you have the twenty answers. Don’t stop, don’t quit, but force yourself to write down twenty answers. If you have more write them down, but twenty is the goal.
  9. Keep asking yourself, “What ELSE?”
  10. Make a clear and specific decision on what is the right solution from your list.
  11. Set a deadline to complete the task. When will it be complete?
  12. Begin immediately!

I guarantee that within your list of answers your solution will evolve. When you review your list of answers, there will be that one thing that you have listed, that you will instantly know is the solution. The only remaining step is to take that obvious solution, commit to it and implement it immediately.

And that is the key to the whole exercise.

You must implement the “solution” immediately. Get to it and get it done.  Right or wrong you’ll be moving forward and eliminating unnecessary pressures on yourself.

If you have issues that you want to solve and need some assistance, please call me. I can help!




Coach Dan

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