Most of our days are spent running from task to task, solving problem after problem.

When we stay stuck on problem-based thinking, we often keep solving the same problem over and over.

Problem-based thinking occurs at all levels in an organization. The Center for Management and Organizational Effectiveness surveyed 267 C-level executives in Fortune 500 companies and found that on average senior executives only spend 25 minutes on higher level types of thinking during the day. As like the rest of us, they are wrapped up in emails, texts, meetings and conference calls.

Problem-based thinking is good and necessary.

If you are in a boat and the boat is leaking, you want to plug the hole in the boat. If you are over budget on an initiative, you should probably bring it back in line! However at some point, you need focus on a longer term solution.

Yet with competing priorities and increasing demands on our time, what can we quickly do to solve problems at a higher level?

To move away from problem-based thinking, here are 4 questions to help you take a solution-focused, longer term approach:

  1. Is there an alternative explanation, one that isn’t as obvious?
  2. If we keep doing this change, what will be the outcome?
  3. How do we prevent this from happening again?
  4. If we solve this problem, or put this solution in place, will we be having the same conversation a year from now? (If the answer is yes, you haven’t looked at the solution at a high enough level.)

Have a look at 4 additional solution-focused techniques in this short 40 second video.

Asking the right questions during change can save you a lot of time in the future! 

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