It’s the moment of truth. Will you let your idea sit on the whiteboard–taunting you for days and weeks to come until you eventually erase it from existence?
Or will you pick up your warrior gear and turn your creative problem-solving ideas into reality?
The warrior is brave because she’s facing failure.
This new idea you have, it will mean change. And we all know humans don’t like change. And this new idea may not work. The warrior sees this as a challenge and approaches it with open eyes.
The Warrior’s Creative Problem-solving Toolbox
The warrior matches the right tool for the situation.
A) A Clear Destination.
She begins by gaining clarity on the destination. This is a specific goal that answers the question ‘how will I know when I’ve succeeded?’ What is the deliverable? What will the new reality include? What are life and business like after this creative solution is in place?
B) A Map of the Obstacles.
The warrior will assess the road ahead and map all the known speed bumps and potholes. She’s brutally honest when evaluatingherself and her team through outside perspectives. She knows her enemy whether resistance to change, an unmovable deadline, limited resources, or her own weaknesses.
C) Strategies to Overcome.
Not only does the warrior identify the obstacles, but she also recognizes the strategies she must have to go through or around those obstacles.
D) A Plan of Action.
‘Action’ is the operative word. Who will do what and by when? The warrior uses the power of planning to make the most of the resources she has–especially time. She will use this plan to keep herself and her team accountable.
The warrior hones her skills.
She knows the success of any creative endeavor requires integrating many skills, and she’ll begin with these:
- Change agent–keeping top of mind how this solution solves a significant problem;
- Exceptional communicator–keeping stakeholders informed and engaged;
- Resource manager–moving resources to the right place at the right time;
- Motivator–keeping things moving forward, recognizing her own and others’ values and connecting the dots;
- Keeps short and long views–recognizes the need to focus on tasks at hand while regularly looking ahead to make needed course corrections.
If this were a relay race, it’s the warrior that carries the baton across the finish line. And it involves each of the four roles of creative problem solving in the race.
The Four Creative Problem-Solving Roles Together
Each role has its purpose. The question is will you, as a one-person business, play all four roles or will you collaborate and create a team to fill these roles?
It’s a challenge to play all roles, especially if you have a clear preference for one set of skills more than another. I’ve rarely seen one person excel in all four areas.
Will you work alone? Can you play all four roles?
Before you can answer these questions, you need to get an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. You can do that through a formal strength assessment, a 360 assessment, and/or observation and self-reflection. I will not go into each of these here (that’s a topic for another time). If you’d like to know more about how to increase your self-awareness, reach out and we can chat.
Once you understand your own strengths and weaknesses for fulfilling each of these roles, you can make an informed decision whether to:
- Option A: Develop the skills or abilities you’re missing,
- Option B: Find someone to fill the gaps or,
- Option C: Disregard this entire model and work as usual.
Warning: If you’re not getting the results you want, then option C (do nothing) isn’t an option at all. You need to change your approach if you want a different outcome.
Deciding between options A and B depend on a few things:
- How much time you have (both to devote to closing skill gaps and to come up with a solution that solves the problem you face.)
- The level of difficulty in the option you choose. Some skills are more challenging to develop than others, some people with needed abilities are more difficult to find.
- Your willingness to do either. This is hard work. Which is why most people put off deciding and in doing so choose option C-do nothing.
What’s really discouraging is how many people put off deciding to develop strengths or collaborate with others and are selecting option C without actually consciously selecting it. Those are the folks who want a different outcome but don’t want to do the work to make a change.
But I know that’s not you. You want to succeed. You want your next project to be better than your last. And because you are ready to take action…
- Take an honest look at your strengths in each of the four roles of creative problem-solving.
- Identify any gaps or areas for improvement.
- Decide on option A (build your strengths) or option B (collaborate with others to fill the gap.)
What’s your very next step?
Note: I based the four roles on Roger von Oech’s A Kick in the seat of the pants. I highly recommend his book. I’ve examined them from the perspective of the one person business to help you get your ideas out of your head and into the world.