Have you ever been involved in a project where everything looked great on paper? Until, that is, the project is implemented within a real-time setting? At that point, what you expect to happen takes off in all sorts of unanticipated directions.
I can see some of you nodding your heads in agreement. 😉 And I have a great program designed to address this specific question: “3 Questions, 4 Agreements, and 5 Whys Catalyze Professional Innovation.”
All of us, at some point in our careers, are part of projects where we feel more like order-takers instead of problem-solvers. Someone, someplace else, decides what the problem is, and may even guide what outcomes should look like. We receive no context, just a set of specifications and a to-do list. From “their” perspective, easy-peasy. However, from our perspective, the beginning of lots of rework, lost time, and potentially lost profit.
Do you frequently find yourself busy working on teams solving someone else’s problem? Yet you are skeptical about whether the problem you are solving actually is the right problem to be solving. If so, perhaps it is time to take a professional pause.
Sometimes projects begin to feel “routine.” We disengage and treat them as wear-wash-rinse-repeat projects. As a result, we perceive the problem as a set of tactical entries on a To-Do list. And our mission is to complete each item, in a linear and orderly manner. End of story. On to the next wear-wash-rinse-repeat project. And once we disengage, we take off our innovative problem-solving hats.
When those dynamics seep into our teams, we seem to ask the same questions and solve the same problems over and over again. However, consider that if you ask the same questions and solve the same problems, repeatedly, are you actually solving the right problems to begin with? Are you asking the right questions, the right way, to break out of an endless cycle of professional problem-solving auto-pilot?
Because the problems you solve today may be related to more systemic problems than they were related to, originally. Taking the time to clarify the context of that “old” problem, seen through a fresh objective lens, leads to new solutions rather than recycling the old ones.
What types of problems would you rather be solving?
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Change Agent | Collaboration Catalyst | Complex Problem Solver | Professional Innovation | Cross Functional Leadership | Speaker, Consultant, Coach, Author |
Babette Ten Haken’s One Millimeter Mindset™ programs catalyze people who solve problems differently to collaborate more successfully across Business, HR and Operations silos. Become more professionally visible, cross-functionally relevant, and strategically valuable as you create and implement innovative and robust business outcomes together. Babette is a business-oriented STEM professional, qualitative Voice of the Customer facilitator, PMI-certified Wicked Problem Solver, Duke Corporate Education licensed Strategic Agility practitioner, and Six Sigma Green Belt (Quality). Babette is a member of the ASQ, SHRM, PMI, the National Speakers Association (NSA). Her playbook of cross-functional collaboration, Do YOU Mean Business? is available in soft cover and digital formats on Amazon.com. Contact Babette here. Image source: Adobe Stock.