Are You Solving the Right Problems?
In surveys of 106 C-suite executives representing 91 private- and public-sector companies from 17 countries, the author found that a full 85% agreed that their organizations were bad at problem diagnosis, and 87% agreed that this flaw carried significant costs. Fewer than one in 10 said they were unaffected by the issue. What they struggle with, it turns out, is not solving problems but figuring out what the problems are. And creative solutions nearly always come from an alternative explanation for--or a reframing of--your problem. The point of reframing is not to find the "real" problem but, rather, to see if there is a better problem to solve. The author outlines seven practices for effective reframing: (1) Establish legitimacy. (2) Bring outsiders into the discussion. (3) Get people's definitions in writing. (4) Ask what's missing. (5) Consider multiple categories. (6) Analyze positive exceptions. (7) Question the objective.