problem solving

Great Minds: When Do We Gain from Thinking Alike or Differently?

I’ve participated in two panels in the past few weeks: one about agile approaches and the other about management. In each case, my fellow panelists echoed each other for several questions, thinking alike. I did not. Not only did I disagree with the other panelists—I explained my claims with data. I thought differently. And because …

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What’s Your Context for Your Success In Solving This Problem?

You want to change something—maybe a personal change or an organizational change. You’ve seen the headlines: “proven ways to lose weight!” or, in my context, “proven agile transformation success!” These people claim they have the One Right Way to succeed at something. They probably have succeeded—maybe even several times. They can explain the journey, from …

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How Do We Balance the Power to Make Decisions with Who Feels the Outcomes?

When you were a child, your parents made all the decisions for how you lived. I distinctly remember thinking it was “so unfair” that I had to go to bed and not read more. Yes, I was one of those kids who read under the covers with a flashlight. Even as adults, we live in …

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How Can We Embrace Complexity—and Stop Trying to Avoid It?

The world feels more complex now, where the Big Issues of the Day create “interesting” times in our lives. Even planning for vacation often requires adaptability. We must be ready to toss those plans when the circumstances change. Some people tell me we need to “return” to simpler times. Or that we can use direct, …

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How Can You Go Meta to Solve a Problem When You’re Stuck?

A client, Dave, explained his concerns and said, “I have no idea where to go from here.” He explained that he’d already gone through his reasonable problem-solving steps. He’d researched, asked the team to experiment, and asked his peers for help. Nothing was working. I asked, “Do you know about going “meta” on the problem?” …

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What Would It Take For You To Leave Work Every Day as If It’s Your Last Day?

A close friend, Sue, is trying to hire a mid-career engineer. She had a lead on a great guy, who then dithered. He could not decide to leave. (I wrote a little thread on Twitter.) What kept him there? He felt as if he owed his team more work. (How to learn what he knew, …

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How Do You Manage Your Energy?

How Do You Manage Your Energy? Do you ever slog through the days, feeling as if you can’t get going? That happened to me last month. I wasn’t sick or depressed—I didn’t have my normal get-up-and-go. That’s when I realized I was “out of spoons.” The spoons represent our energy—and, at least for me—our resilience. …

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