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At any moment, your business is likely facing a plethora of problems, spanning from market/product challenges and process inefficiencies to cultural obstacles and capacity constraints. Understandably, you may loathe these problems, leading you to focus on and pursue solutions that may not actually address the problem at hand.

To avoid adopting the wrong solution and help mitigate the associated risks and biases (i.e. sunk cost bias), you must first fall in love with your problem.

Each problem you face represents an opportunity to improve, whether that means boosting profits, becoming more efficient, reaching new customers or enhancing your products. However, if you don't spend adequate time discovering your problem and understanding that problem holistically, you may end up adopting solutions that:

  • Don't address the entire issue (including the root cause)
  • Don't deliver the intended results
  • Don't last in the long term

In this article, we'll dive into why it's important to fall in love with your problems and share some actionable advice about how to do so.

Discover better solutions

Above all else, falling in love with your problems enables you to discover better solutions. If you attempt to solve a problem with a given solution in mind, you will inevitably frame your problem to match that solution. By courting your problems first, you get a better sense of the true challenge you're trying to overcome.

To put it another way, you would never attempt to solve a jigsaw puzzle without having all of the pieces first; falling in love with your problems is like gathering all the pieces of your puzzle. From there, you can assemble the best solution that addresses the complete issue at hand.

The reality is, there are always multiple ways to solve a problem. Gaining a holistic understanding of your problem allows you to compare multiple solutions based on how they address your objectives, leading you to the most comprehensive, effective solution in the long run. The organizations that consistently improve and add value are really good at enabling discovery and establishing objectives — this is what problem-solving is all about.

Measure your success

When you understand your problem deeply, you're able to determine metrics and benchmarks to evaluate and compare potential solutions. If you're trying to tackle a process inefficiency, for example, understanding the process from end to end (its impact, magnitude, context, stakeholders, bottlenecks, etc.) can help you set clear objectives for a potential solution. Armed with this information, you can set realistic and measurable goals for success, helping you evaluate if your solution has actually solved the problem at hand.

Take, for example, the a customer onboarding process. After examining this process completely, you may discover that you have multiple bottlenecks and redundancies in your process. With this in mind, you can set a clear objective to reduce the onboarding process from 5 days to 2, with a focus on finding solutions that remove bottlenecks and redundancies and achieve time savings.

The key to falling in love with a problem is asking questions, identifying and challenging assumptions. Start with the basics:

  • Who is impacted by this problem? Employees, customers or both? Which departments or customer segments, specifically?
  • Why is this issue important? Does the audience care?
  • What is the magnitude of this problem?
  • Which surrounding factors are contributing to this problem?
  • How (if at all) is this problem already being solved? Are these workarounds effective?
  • When is the right time to address this solution? Is it a priority for the business?

Additionally, it can be helpful to look at how other companies or industries have tackled similar problems so you can learn from their experience and avoid their mistakes. What can you take from their solutions, and what can you improve upon?

Each problem is unique, so your discovery may look a little different each time. The important thing is to keep asking questions and challenging any assumptions that arise along the way.

A love letter to your problems

While they're often a thorn in our sides, our problems are really our best friends; taking the time to get to know your problems before falling in love with a solution will better position you to evaluate and implement the most effective solution overall.

If you're ready to start falling in love with your business's problems, Output is here to help. Contact us to see how our platform can enable your discovery today!

 

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Topic(s): Problem Solving
 

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