Take a different view and solve your problems faster

Do you have a problem that seems impossible to solve? One reason could be how the problem is stated. Typically, you see a problem from one view: from one perspective. But as JK Galbraith says, sometimes this protects us from thinking.

"The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking."

John Kenneth Galbraith

One way to get a different view

Imagine you have a problem with the productivity of your team.  You might state your problem as: Increase the productivity of my team. To get a different view, a simple technique is to rewrite the problem as a bigger problem and rewrite the problem as a smaller problem.

A bigger problem might be: increase the productivity of my department; A smaller problem might be increase the productivity of Barbara. So summarising you now have three different views of the problem.

Now you have three different views to choose from.  When you do this you will find this simple exercise forces you to create different views of the same problem.  This may make you realise the fastest way to solve your problem is to solve a bigger problem. Or you may find the fastest way to solve your problem is to solve the smaller problem. Even if you choose to solve the original problem, you have three different views of the problem and will solve the problem faster. This simple tool helps us quickly get different points of view.

“It is a narrow mind which cannot look at a subject from various points of view.”

 George Eliot


Other ways of getting a different view

"A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world."

John le Carre

A quick way to get a different view is to leave your desk and talk to others, especially customers.  A client was recently complaining about an unresponsive and inflexible IT department not being willing to make it faster and easier for salespeople to access systems when out of the office.  A quick way of getting IT to change is to send them out for a day or two with a salesperson to visit customers.  As they see and experience the pain of using systems outside the office, they will start to find ways to improve the systems, fast. 

As Margaret Attwood says, Reality simply consists of different points of view. A quick way to get a different perspective is ask others from different departments how they see the problem. In every organization there are people who always have a different view to most other people. Find those people in your organization and have a coffee with them. They will always give you a different view. Remember the words of Comedian, George Carlin: 

“Some people see the glass half full. Others see it half empty.

I see a glass that's twice as big as it needs to be.”