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Are you solving the right problems?

Reframing your problems can create unexpected solutions. According to author Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg (Harvard Business Review article Jan-Feb. 2017), in surveys of 106 C-suite executives representing 91 private and public-sector companies from 17 countries, Mr. WedellWedellsborg found that a full 85% agreed that their organizations were poor at problem solving and 87% agreed that this flaw carried significant costs. Less than one in ten companies said they were unaffected by the problem diagnosis issue. What they struggle with, it turns out, is not solving problems, but figuring out what the problems are. It seems 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:

1. Establish legitimacy,

2. Bring outsiders into the discussion,

3. Get people's definitions in writing,

4. Ask what is missing,

5. Consider multiple categories,

6. Analyze positive exceptions, and

7. Question the objective.

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