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First, agree on the problem

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

The Holy Grail of problem solving is creating shared understanding, a precursor to shared commitment, says CogNexus Institute founder Jeff Conklin.

If you accept that getting things done means first agreeing on what the problem is, then the challenge for any organization is coming to a shared understanding about the particular dilemma.

Plenty is known about how to get people “on board” and create buy-in, but even be­­fore that, leaders must have a robust under­­standing of the circumstances they face.

Shared understanding means that the stakeholders understand each other’s positions well enough to have a conversation about their different interpretations of the problem, and then act together intelligently in defining and solving it.

— Adapted from “Building Shared Understanding of Wicked Problems,” Karen Christensen, Rotman.

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