As we become older and more “mature”; as the complexities of the tasks we do increase, we often look for complex solutions…the answer is actually quite simple. Here’s a short anecdote for anyone coaching team members and especially for those in the leadership development space.
At a recent Parents’ Evening for my eight-year old-daughter, her Form Teacher was telling my wife and me that our daughter was making good progress although she had been reluctant to tackle some of the arithmetic tasks set recently. When tackled about this, my daughter told her teacher that she couldn’t find the answer to the problem-although it seemed to be more about getting started with the task than the fact that there was a problem.
Her teacher thought about this for a while and then said to my daughter, ‘Why not forget about the problem and think about it as a puzzle?’ – which my daughter did and promptly completed the task. By reframing what the issue is, and thinking about it in another way, it obviously allowed my daughter to tackle the task confidently.
In management there are seldom many clear-cut situations- just shades of grey with different choices. Considering issues as puzzles, rather than problems, can lead to individuals and teams generating lots of different potential solutions- all of which may be valid.
(By Rob Ferrari)