Three Steps for Solving Any Problem

When a problem comes along, according to the New Wave band Devo, you must whip it. I am here to suggest that when a problem comes along, you would do well to Triple A it.

I had this idea as I was nodding off to sleep last night, and rather than think (/vainly hope) that I would remember it in the morning, I reached over and grabbed my alarm clock (my iPhone) and sent myself a quick e-mail.

So what is “Triple A” and how does one Triple A it?

The first “A” stands for Acknowledge. In order to successfully solve a problem or properly engage a challenge one must look at it clearly. If nothing else, one needs to get clear on: the origin; the scope and one’s role in its creation. The last one is tricky and can be hard to see; I advise enlisting the help of someone you trust to be fair and measured (perhaps a coach; someone like me </shamelessplug>) Even the first two are easily glossed over. Getting clear, as completely as possible, is key.

The second “A” is Adapt. What changes or new methods does this challenge, issue or problem require? What new resources, or seldom-used resources, would be helpful (or perhaps necessary) in effectively meeting this challenge? What new thinking or approach would make resolution quicker and/or easier? Is there something, about you, that needs to grow or change?

Finally: Act. Get started, Do something. Don’t delay because things are not perfect. Sometimes calling it an “experiment” is helpful. Do your best to maintain the awareness you generated in the Acknowledge and Adapt steps and move forward. Ask yourself: “What small action could I take right now that would help me test my assumptions and generate 1) a result and 2) information?” Or if there’s some big thing you can do, do that.

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