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Thorny problem? Unleash your vision

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in Leaders & Managers,Office Management,Workplace Communication

When a problem doesn’t respond to solutions that have worked for you before, unlock your creativity with these approaches:
  • Delve deeper. Leaders typically devote 80 percent of their effort to trying to solve a problem and only 20 percent to trying to define it. Turn those percentages around by asking people pointed questions, asking for data and research.

  • Examine personal experiences and successes outside of business that can give you clues about tackling the problem. Example: The Wright brothers applied their knowledge of bicycles to making their first flying machine.

  • Use visual imagery. Example: Ask your team to brainstorm about a movie that would tell the story of the problem like the one you’re facing and—the important part—how it was solved.

  • Define the problem in different ways. Divide your people into teams, and ask each for a unique definition. Then, bring everyone together and compare findings.
—Adapted from “Leading Creatively: The Art of Making Sense,” Charles J. Palus and David M. Horth, Ivey Business Journal.

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