How to unpick your business problems/challenges

Here are a few questions that could help alter the way you’re thinking about a challenge you’re facing in your business. Some might seem incredibly obvious to you—but the obvious is often overlooked.

Working with founders and business owners when they’re feeling stuck, overwhelmed or have a challenge/problem to overcome, these are some of the prompts I’ll use (though each conversation is unique)...

  1. What has led me to believe X is the problem?

    Take it back to the start… have any assumptions been made? Are they correct/incorrect? Have you understood the problem fully? Which parts remain unknown? How could you get a better understanding of the problem? E.g. specific data or additional viewpoints. How could you reframe this problem? What’s a different way to look at it?

  2. How do I feel about this problem?

    Are any negative (or positive) thoughts or feelings affecting how you’re thinking about the problem? What effect are they having? Would a change in how you feel about it change how you see both the problem itself and different solutions/options? Do those around you share similar feelings on the matter?

  3. How would a solution to this change things for me?

    Talking through the change you want can sometimes trigger ideas for alternative solutions. What seemed like the obvious/right way to solve it may not be. Also, it’s easy to become solution obsessed - but is that the right way forward for you?

  4. What solutions have I considered?

    What are the pros/cons for each option? What criteria are you using to decide to move forward? Who else has worked on this or something similar? What approaches did they take? What worked/didn’t work well for them? How could you tap into their knowledge, expertise and understanding? What can I do to test a certain solution?

  5. How am I going to move forward?

    What do you need to do next? Break those next steps down even further into a series of mini steps. It can be overwhelming to have a big next step and not know where to start. Big goals are exciting to look at but they’re not actionable. What resources do you need?
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