Leaders are fantastic problem-solvers. However, there may be situations that are so confusing that they defy the typical problem-solving strategies. What do you do when you’re faced with a thorny dilemma and can’t think of what to do?

Steve McKee acknowledges in What to do when you have no idea what to do that facing a complex hurdle can be daunting. “Intimidation, however, is unproductive.” 

The four strategies he recommends are:

  1. Stay calm
  2. Ask questions like a journalist (Who? What? Where? When? How? Why?)
  3. Reflect on proven principles (“People aren’t rational.” “Human nature never changes.” “Incentives matter.” “It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up.” “Contradictions kill credibility.” “Speak the truth in love.”)
  4. Take steps, however small

Humanergy would insert another step after #2 above. Focus on what you need to achieve. What were you trying to accomplish when things blew up? What impact were you trying to make? What reality were you attempting to create? Is this outcome still important? Is it vital?

This laser-like focus on the goal will keep you motivated to seek an answer. In some cases, you may also discover that the outcome really wasn’t the right one in the first place. Or perhaps there was fuzziness around the goal to be achieved, and that led to the problem in the first place. The bottom line is never solve a problem without a clear, focused and aligned vision of the future you’re trying to create.

Do you have a tried-and-true method for getting unstuck? Comment below or message us.


Photo by Matthew Hamilton on Unsplash