The Four Things We Must Address to Solve Any Problem at Work

four leaf clover

We are trained to look for and valued as leaders for finding the best solution to any given problem. But this focus gets us into trouble every time.

That’s because every significant problem at work has four dimensions.  Problems arise from and persist due to…

  • What (or Purpose): a lack of a clear, commonly understood, and compelling goal or reason,
  • We (or People): …one or more people or groups believing they are or will be losing out to others,
  • Can (or Perspective): …a negative or low-buzz culture or attitude, and
  • Do (or Process): …haphazard accomplishment of work, lack of flow, lack of follow-through, incomplete systems, or role confusion.

Our standard solutions usually address only one or two of these dimensions. Each of us has a bias toward one of them; we will want to use that hammer for all those nails, every time. And we will argue passionately with each other about the best solution because we are each focusing on a different dimension.

Problems will stubbornly persist until we have tacked all four dimensions. When we address the purpose, people, perspective, and process parts of the problem, we will solve it quickly and completely.


In your corner,

Today’s photo credit: Michelle Tribe cc

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