Four Rules of Approaching ANY Problem

Every day we face many problems. We tend to label them as “challenges”, as the word “challenge” signals that we intend to do something about it. But can you gather a set of rules that would benefit us in approaching ANY problem?
I believe you can.

The Four Rules

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1. Be open-minded
The problems we face will often remind us of previous problems and draw us towards the conclusion that we can use the same solutions that we used before. This is called experience, and sometimes our experiences does hold the best solutions.
However…This experience can blind us from new and better solutions which is why the first rules is “Be open-minded”.

2. Be curious
If something doesn’t work, we should always be curious to how it should work. Be curious about why the problem occurred, when it occurred and where it occurred. Curiosity is the key to discovering unexpected and extremely valuable details about your problem.

3. Be data driven
If we solve our problem based on assumptions then our solution will also be based on assumptions. Data enthusiasts will argue that without data you are simply guessing. We should always, if practically possible, base our solutions on data and facts.

4. Be action oriented
There’s a trap within the art of problem solving. It’s called “over analyzing”. If you spend too much time on solving a problem without containing it – you are actually tolerating the effect of the problem. A good containment is within the very core of problem solving. This is why being action oriented is the fourth rule.

Remembering Pareto’s principle that 80% of the effects comes from 20% of the causes will help you avoid the trap of over analyzing.
Final Thoughts

The principles of problem solving are universal to all problems, and the value of the tools we use are only limited by our skill at using them. I’ve said it hundreds of times and I’ll say it again – problem solving should not be overcomplicated. It’s simply a mindset of systematically approaching problems.

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If we have an open and curious mind.
If we focus on having a data driven approach.
If we are action oriented and intervene before problems escalate.
…Then we have a powerful universal approach to solving ANY problem.

Four Rules of Approaching ANY Problem

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