How to surf tricky business problems

Justin Cooper Added over 5 years ago

Ever get stuck in a loop trying to solve a tricky business problem?
You go around in circles and nothing breaks the impasse. You struggle, you stress, you stew. You’re stuck in a logical loop – doing exactly what Einstein warned against: trying to solve problems using the same kind of thinking you used when you created them.
What do you do? According to Mo Fox instead of trying to solve ambiguous business problems, you surf them. Just as every business problem is different, so is every wave. When you surf you need to keep your knees bent – so you can react to sudden shifts in the size and direction of the wave. And the same applies in business - when faced with a challenge you need to stay flexible and open to possible solutions – so you can adapt your tactics to suit the situation.
Here are a few tips for those grappling with a thorny business challenge:
1. Embrace uncertainty – don’t fight it. The solution you’re seeking is never going to be a linear process that starts at A and finishes neatly at B. Expect there to be uncertainty as you work out which direction to go in. Rather than making assertions, ask lots of questions - and the path out of the complex problem you’re in will start to appear.
2. Start small. Don’t try and build a full-scale solution based on the first solution you see. It encourages inaction – as you fear that what you’ve built might not work. So test different avenues first. Start with small ideas and build one on to another.
3. Go with the flow. Inaction is the enemy of commerce. Rather than being in the flow, go with the flow. Make decisions, even if some of them may be wrong. The process of deciding is a crucial one to staying in the game. Once you stop there’s a danger you feel swamped.
So if you feel like you’re being swamped by a challenging and ambiguous business problem, remember to think like a surfer: Stay low and ride the wave.

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Posted by Justin Cooper at 9:31 pm 0 Comments

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