How to find the problem

A bit more on the problem-finding question from yesterday.

Is lead generation really the problem?

Or is there something else about your business that needs to be addressed?

Locating the problem first is important. And Dan and Chip Heath (in their book Decisive) give us a framework for doing this via a process they call Widen Your Options:

First, avoid a narrow frame.

Organizations, like teenagers, are blind to their choices… when a manager pursues a single option, she spends most of her time asking: “How can I make this work? How can I get my colleagues behind me?” Meanwhile, other vital questions get neglected: “Is there a better way? What else could we do?”

Second, multitrack (consider several options simultaneously).

… multitracking often leads to “wasted” work… But it’s precisely this willingness to work in parallel, and to endure inefficiency, that often leads to a break in the case.

The study’s authors, trying to explain the better performance of the simultaneous designers, said, “Since [simultaneous] participants received feedback on multiple ideas simultaneously, they were more likely to read and analyze critique statements side-by-side. Direct comparison perhaps helped them better understand key design principles and led to more principled choices for subsequent prototypes.”

Third, find someone who’s already solved your problem.

To break out of a narrow frame, we need options, and one of the most basic ways to generate new options is to find someone else who’s solved your problem.

It’s really easy to zero in on that thing you saw work for that one person that one time as the solution to your problem… and then plow ahead full force.

It’s much harder to force yourself to slow down and systematically evaluate your options before jumping in.

Most of the time though, it’s worth making that tradeoff.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *