Paul Medley - Problem Solver


12/11/2009 13:23


Ten Steps to Solve Any Problem


Any problem, no matter how complex, can be solved if approached with a creative strategy. Here are ten steps to getting your mind in an optimal problem-solving state.


Step 1. Start with Some Focused Questions.
The first step to unleashing your true problem-solving potential is to ask yourself some very focused, challenging questions. Here are some very powerful questions that will often do the trick:

  • "What am I really trying to do?"
  • "How am I trying to do it?"
  • "What assumptions am I making?"
  • "Could there be a simpler, better way to accomplish this?"
  • "If I were to start all over again today ­ knowing what I now know ­ what would I do differently?"

Step 2. Question your Answers.
The next step is to question your answers. Ask yourself:

  • "If my assumptions are untrue, what should I do differently?"
  • "Should I drop what I am doing now, and take a different approach?"
  • "Is all of this in my best interests?"

Step 3. Apply the Theory of Resistance.
One effective way to get some creative solutions to your problems is to apply the "theory of resistance." This theory says that in every activity, there are one or more resisting factors.

The resistance you encounter often controls how fast you'll move from where you are today ­- to where you want to go. The good thing is this about identifying resistance is this: you'll often trigger some very powerful personal insights.

Suppose, for example, your have a goal of doubling your income over the next three years. You could begin your problem-solving exercise by identifying the resistance standing in the way of your goal. Ask yourself: "Why is my income not that high already?"

Step 4. Analyze the Resistance.
Next ruthlessly go after your answers to Step 3. Be totally honest with yourself. Don't avoid asking hard, painful questions, and demand an answer from yourself. In the case above you could ask: "Exactly why am I not making twice my income right now? Exactly what is holding me back?"

Step 5. Take a Look at the Outside World.
One way to immediately determine if the resistance is internal or external is to see if someone else is managing to accomplish the goal you desire. If they are, then you can safely conclude the resistance is internal to you.

Step 6. Identify your Primary Internal Resistance.
As a consultant to key executives, I have often discovered that usually 80% of what holds us back lies within ourselves ­ and only 20% in the outside world. So if you have not achieved what you desire, the best place to begin to look for the source of the resistance is within yourself.

Plus … since it's so tough to create change in the outside world, it's far more effective to focus on yourself anyway. You're far more likely to get the results you want!

Superior achievers tend to ask one question when they're not moving ahead: "What is it inside me, or that I am doing or thinking, that is holding me back?"

Step 7. Get Ruthless.
There's a powerful old saying that's very appropriate here: "When a man's fight begins with himself, he is really worth something."

So sharpen your teeth and bite into your primary internal source of resistance. Demand answers from yourself. You NEED to know *how* you are placing limitations on your desired achievement, and look it right in the eyeballs.

Step 8. Turn on the Lights.
The more often you repeat this process, the better you'll get at it. This process switches on your mental headlight, and you'll begin to spot internal resistance before it grabs you by the ankle.

Step 9. Constantly Examine your Goal.
Now that you have your mental headlight on, take a close look at your goal. Make sure you've set a clearly defined goal that you have a burning and passionate desire to achieve.

Combining your goal with the intense emotion of desire or excitement puts you into the upper level of achievers. The more excited and enthusiastic you are about your goal, the more rapidly your mind will go to work to bring the goal into your life.

Continue to ask focused questions to generate more ideas about to achieve your goal. The more intense your questions, the more ideas you will generate! And once you have sunk your teeth into your key internal resistance, you have placed your feet solidly on the high road to success.

Step 10. Become a Professional Problem Solver
Brain Tracy says, "A goal you have not yet achieved is simply a problem you have not yet solved."

In fact, whatever your goal, your real job is to solve any and all problems that stand between you and the achievement of that goal. Your success in life, your career, your relationship, and your business all depend on one thing -­ your ability to understand and solve problems.

So from now on just view yourself as a professional problem solver, and watch your goals fall in place easier than you could have ever imagined.

Come visit the exciting Self Discovery Community. Discover the most interesting, unusual, stimulating and creative methods of self discovery on the web today! Free sizzling weekly ezine, and the web's first Brain Gym ezone.


Paul Medley

4820 Yelm Hwy SE Ste.B177
Lacey, WA 98503

(360) 489-2605

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An emerging academic discipline and management process that addresses how people, workgroups, and organizations use knowledge principles, processes, technologies, and training to leverage intellectual capital by increasing knowledge flow, organizational learning, innovation, and performance 

Knowledge management caters to the critical issues of organizational adaptation, survival, and competence in the face of increasingly discontinuous environmental change. 


“Today’s KM processes are contingency planning for tomorrow’s decisions.”    
 - Alex Bennet, Chief Information Officer for Enterprise Integration for the Department of Navy


KM in a organization is concerned with strategy, processes and technologies to acquire, store, share and secure organizational understanding, insights and core distinctions.

Knowledge management gives priority to the way in which people construct and use knowledge.

Managing knowledge consists of deciding with whom to share, what is to be shared, how it is to be shared, and ultimately sharing and using it.


We can quibble endlessly over what makes "information" different from "knowledge," but the important point is that we should always be trying to add value to what we have by turning data into information and information into knowledge

Managing knowledge is ultimately everyone's job. Virtually every industry today is becoming knowledge-intensive. What your organization knows is clearly one of its only sustainable competitive advantages. 


Working with objects (data or information) is Information Management and working with people is Knowledge Management.




Do you remember this ?


The knowledge drain from the boomer retirement wave already has had some far-reaching consequences. As author David DeLong reports in his book, Lost Knowledge: Confronting the Threat of an Aging Workforce (Oxford Univ. Press, 2004), NASA lost the plans for the Saturn 5 rocket, which was used to launch the lunar landing craft.  No one knows where the plans are. DeLong writes:

In an era of cost-cutting and downsizing, the engineers who designed the huge Saturn 5 rocket ... were encouraged to take early retirement from the space program. With them went years of experience and expertise about the design trade-offs that had been made in building the Saturn rockets.  Also lost were what appear to be the last set of critical blueprints for the Saturn booster, which was the only rocket ever built with enough thrust to launch a manned lunar payload. 


An article in Management Issues – September 2007 stated that research by online recruiter Monster suggests that a mere one in five American companies have a formal strategy in place to capture critical knowledge and experience from older employees approaching retirement and transfer this knowledge to newer employees.  To make matters worse, only 12 percent of human resource managers said that knowledge retention was seen as high priority within their organizations - despite the fact that a third of them acknowledge that 20 per cent or more of their workforce will be eligible for retirement over the next few years. 

The study suggests that while HR managers may recognize the looming issue of losing institutional knowledge due to retirement, many face barriers to establishing strategies and tactics that could help to pre-empt the problem.  The article further stated that concrete steps organizations can take to help mitigate the affects of brain drain include appointing a Chief Knowledge Officer responsible for organizational knowledge.  



Implementing programs to identify knowledge assets, sources, and offering knowledge-sharing incentives for employees and incorporate standards in performance reviews.  Employing other tactics including leveraging technology – using things like blogs and wikkis to enable employees to redistribute and access organizational knowledge.  There are many remedies, and one size does not fit all.  

Although the brain drain is a looming problem for employers, it also presents an excellent opportunity for innovative companies to position themselves for better competitive advantage. 


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