Tackling Problems

Tackling Problems Head-On: Effective Communication and Problem Solving

I had a client reach out to me yesterday with a problem. They work in a competitive industry that's been on a downslide, and corporate is pushing hard for growth. The client felt stuck because they didn't have the tools to sustain the growth expected. They asked for my advice on what to do.

We discussed the problem in detail, and I realized that the process I recommended might help you too. Whether you're facing issues in your team, career, or personal life, these strategies can be a game-changer.

Communicate the Current Problem

First, I asked my client if they had communicated the current problem to their upper management. Did they explain that, based on their resources and capacity, they couldn’t meet the expected output? Surprisingly, they hadn’t.

We often want to be superheroes, solving problems without asking for help. This mindset can be detrimental. Many issues we stress over could be alleviated simply by communicating where we stand. You might find that the people around you are more understanding and willing to help than you think.

Embrace Vulnerability with the Prattfall Effect

There’s a concept called the Prattfall Effect, which suggests that showing vulnerability can actually improve others’ trust in you. By admitting that you don’t have all the answers, you build stronger connections and trust with your team and superiors. Pretending to have it all together can create distance and distrust.

Create a Fix-It List

When faced with a problem, create a fix-it list. List all the things wrong with the current situation in order of importance. Start with the big issues first. Your brain has a limited capacity for decision-making each day, so tackle the biggest problems when your mind is fresh.

Break Down the Problems

Next, categorize the items on your fix-it list:

  1. What can be fixed immediately?
  2. What can be fixed but will take time?
  3. What cannot be fixed right now?

By breaking down the problems, you can communicate more effectively with your team or management. You’ll also reduce your own stress by focusing on what can be done rather than what can’t.

Manage Stress to Think Clearly

When you’re stressed, your body focuses on keeping you alive, which can shut down your ability to think clearly. Reducing stress by breaking down problems and communicating effectively allows you to breathe and think more clearly. This, in turn, helps you find solutions more efficiently.

Collaborate for Solutions

Problems are best solved collaboratively. When you bring different perspectives together, you can find more comprehensive solutions. Diversity in thought and experience can lead to innovative problem-solving.

When you approach a problem with a clear list and open communication, you can tailor expectations and work towards a solution that benefits everyone involved. Remember, if someone isn’t willing to work with you after you’ve communicated clearly, that says more about them than about you.

Let's make 2024 the year we tackle our problems head-on, communicate effectively, and reduce our stress to find real solutions. Have a great day.

For more insights and resources on confidence building, consider shopping our Mindset Books & Apparel to support your journey, booking a mindset speaker to inspire your team, exploring our free mindset resources, or listening to the Shark Theory Podcast.

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