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Are you solving or dissolving your problem?

Updated: Mar 6, 2020

Problems are one of those things that when we experience them, they can make us feel comfortable. And when it comes to really big problems, we often wish that they’d just go away. When this happens, we’re at risk of trying to dissolve the problem, instead of solving it.

When we’re solving a problem, we spend time - looking at the elements that have led to it, and spending equal time exploring the opportunities to address it.

Problem-solving is about working things through and being willing to sit with the discomfort that comes with the having a question that doesn’t yet have an answer.

Problem-solving is underpinned by a belief that the problem that we’re dealing with can be solved, we just need to spend some time to work it through.

Alternatively, when we have a problem dissolving mindset, the problem becomes like sugar in a glass of water. We want to swish around and hope that it just goes away. At least, we can no longer see it, and this may make us feel better in the short-term. However, like sugar, the problem isn’t really gone. It has temporarily taken another form which of course means that the impact or the issue remains unaddressed.

Unless we spend time to understand and solve our biggest problems effectively, they’ll just come back to haunt us later.

As you look at the problems that you are encountering in your workplace or your team:

  • Are you trying to solve or dissolve them?

  • How might that be impacting your success?

I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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About the author:

Kate Christiansen is a problem-solving specialist and an award-winning author, facilitator and speaker. She helps leaders and teams to escape the status quo and build momentum behind big, hairy problems that matter. To discover more about Kate and what her clients say about her impact on their teams, ontact Kate on


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