Since we never solve problems completely, only make tradeoffs between them, it would be good to choose problems before they choose you.
Some people are very excited about problems. Particularly mathematicians and managers who want to be seen as Solvers. You can have problems of any size and shape, any day, any minute. Nobody is short of them. So, it’s easy to be in font of them.
Some people would go as far as defining the life of the organization as a continuous problem solving. I am personally sceptical of the Turbo-Problem-Solver type of manager because they have always that unconscious need to create one in order to solve it. A moon or two ago I worked with a Very Senior Leader whose single skill was to generate problems that only him could solve. I used to call him John the Saviour. But this is a story for another day.
If you accept the trade-off reality ( we never solve problems, it’s a question of working on the best trade off) then, the skill is about choosing them before they find you. It works, believe me.
Look at the options in front. It’s 8 a.m. Imagine the supermarket of problems with the doors about to be open. Some problems are good to have. Leave them aside for when they come live. Some are not good. Choose the best trade-off, then the next. You may never solve any problem (sorry) but you will learn to deal with the best trade-offs which is the closest thing you have to seriously winning. Progressively, the delta of the problem will decrease and you will live with the skinny ones.
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