Problem Solving

One of the keys to problem solving is to think “outside the box.” It is a trite phrase, but trite phrases can nonetheless be true. I can illustrate the key to problem solving with two game stories.

      The first is about an unorthodox way to solve the Rubric Cube quickly. I called out a Geek Squad type

techie to fix my computer. As he was waiting for a download to occur, he picked up an old Rubric Cube from

the desk and started working on it. In the process he said, “My brother and I used to be able to solve these

things in less than 30 seconds.” After about two minutes he became very frustrated and then blurted out,

“What the Hell, somebody peeled off the squares and moved them!”

               That someone, was my adopted Chinese daughter who was not very good at this game and found a very efficient, if not questionably unethical, solution to a problem. Also known as a “work around.” Now the “questionably” part of this is because the point of the game is to solve if by turning the sections and not removing and reapplying the colored squares. However, magicians use these techniques all the time and we pay good money to watch them trick us.

              The second game is about and wood box with a plastic top with holes you put colored shapes into.

This is a game that I played with my daughter when she was two. You have heard the idiomatic phrase noting

that “You can’t put a square peg into a round hole.” Well, actually you can and she did. While playing the game

one day with me, she picked up a nearby wood letter block that was slightly smaller than the round hole and,

voilà, dropped it in. Now, one cannot accuse a two-year old of an ethics violation. But she once again proved

she had great work around skills.

               The point here is that if you think about it for a bit, you may come up with some unique solutions to solve your change management problems. Keep in mind that the problem solutions are more often than not solved by someone close to the solution who is not highly invested in it. Usually the owner/keeper of the problem is blind to it because their mindset is “we always did it that way.” However, their apprentice or recent team member may not be of that mindset and may have the solution because they understand the process in question but are not highly invested in it. If fact, they may have been quietly sitting on the sidelines thinking the process was inefficient and less than cost-effective. The problem is that no one asked them.