It would be great if life always went smoothly, everything according to plan, but we all know that it doesn’t. How do we deal with the problems that come along? I was tempted to call them ‘opportunities’ as it begins with an O, but decided that it sounded a bit too much like management jargon. Let’s be honest, when a problem arises it is a problem – and problems need to be solved.

Starting with the assumption that the problem CAN be solved and that there must be a way to find the solution, is the way to go. If we think there’s no solution, we probably won’t be open to finding one – negativity quickly kills creativity – and it’s creativity that we need.

The best problem solving models involve a thorough investigation of all the possible causes of the problem and data about the impact of the problem. Then instead of going straight to a solution, it’s best to come up with at least 3 possible solutions and analyse which one of them will give the best results.

There really is more than one way to skin most cats (not literally, of course!) and the more we compare possible solutions the more likely we are to find one that will solve the problem in the long term, not just patch it up temporarily.

Involving our team in problem solving is vital – each person can see the issues from a different perspective – what might go wrong, what might go right, what could be done differently – and this is invaluable. If you’ve ever watched Undercover Boss, you’ve seen how important it is to consult with people to overcome obstacles.

Obstacles will always be impeding our progress, but we can always find a way over, around or under them if we approach them in the right way.