Decoding Decision-Making: Right Vs Real Problem

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Let’s deep dive into the first step of the solution process: Defining the problem.

Have you ever encountered problem statements like:

How do I grow and scale the business?

How to build a world-class product?

How do I create a high-performing team?

How to make the company more profitable?

These seem like the right problems to tackle. However, the biggest barrier at this stage is not about identifying the right problem but the ‘real’ problem.

Let me provide an example: Consider the problem statement “How do I scale my business?” This is a common concern for many businesses, whether successful or not.

If we delve deeper into this question and inquire about what is unclear, the questions might evolve in your head as follows:

We don’t have a unique product, but we can build one…What unique feature should we add?…I know what that unique feature is… but that would cost a lot of money…but then we can get investment…who will provide the investment?…I think I know, but will my co-founder agree to go for the investment?…he is very conservative…how do I convince him?…If I can do that then we are in the game… So maybe the real problem for me to address is “How do I convince my co-founder to go for the investment route?”

As seen in this example, we transitioned from the right problem to the real problem.

The reason we often struggle to identify the real problem is that it requires us to THINK DEEPLY about the problem and not the solution. We are so accustomed to being solution providers in our careers and businesses that we have forgotten how to deeply analyze the underlying question and problem.

Remember, if you provide a right solution to the right problem (and not the real problem), it does not matter as your real problem will remain unsolved and continue to bother you significantly, without you realizing where you went wrong.

Many times, a coach can be of great help in assisting you in identifying the real problem as they observe the situation from an external perspective without judgment.

So, in step 1 of defining the problem, the barrier to overcome is identifying the real problem rather than just the right one.

Stay tuned for more insights on the next step of the decision-making process.

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