Anastasia Mudrova

Don’t fall in love with the solution. Fall in love with the problem.

Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg

What I notice when I work with […] companies applying those [Six Sigma, TRIZ, 5 Whys, root cause analysis] was those tools tend to make you dig deeper into the first understanding of the problem we have. […] That they kind of get caught by the details. That, in a way, is a bad way to work on problems because it really assumes that there’s … [ Read more ]

Albert Einstein

Conventional wisdom is the source of many problems and is ill-suited to solving them.

Julie Zhuo

Teams that fall in love with a problem have more successful outcomes than teams that fall in love with particular solutions. This is because knowing that a problem is worth solving continues to be motivating even when a team doesn’t come across the right solution on the first, second, or Nth try.

Martin Reeves and Jussi Lehtinen

The effectiveness of a company’s problem solving, as measured along the dimensions of cost, speed, and accuracy, is influenced by five elements: strategy (that is, the core of the company’s problem-solving approach, which drives decisions about the other elements), framing, data selection, choice and implementation of a solution method, and selection of problem solvers. Classical enterprises typically lack a strategy for problem solving. They try … [ Read more ]

Peter Drucker

You have to focus on success, especially unexpected success, and run with it. Most problems cannot be solved—most problems can only be survived. And one survives problems by making them irrelevant because of success. This is a matter, above all, of placing people. What I have learned to do is to take a sheet and list our opportunities and the risks. And then I make … [ Read more ]

A.G. Lafley

You can never outwork a problem. You have to outthink it.

John Donahoe

Everything seems urgent and very little actually is. When I come back from a long trip and haven’t been current on my voicemail or email, I’m always struck by the fact that what seem like crises on Day One resolve themselves without any interaction from me.

Shunryu Suzuki

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few. Always begin, again and again.

Claude Legrand and Dr. David S. Weiss

As we moved from the industrial economy to the knowledge economy over the past 25 years, the nature of critical issues changed from complicated to complex. Complicated issues can be solved with logic and by drawing on past experience. It’s simply a matter of simplifying, organizing and applying solutions that have worked in a similar situation. Complex issues, on the other hand, are more ambiguous, … [ Read more ]

Ingvar Kamprad

Expensive solutions to any kind of problem are usually the work of mediocrity.

Michael Porter

The highest compliment, I’ve come to understand, is, ‘Oh, that’s obvious.’ “I used to get really mad about that, but now I understand that’s the goal — to take a complex problem and make it seem really clear and obvious.

Stephen Shapiro

Einstein said that if he had an hour to save the world, he’d spend fifty-nine minutes defining the problem and one minute finding the solution. The reality is that people spend sixty minutes running around finding solutions to problems that don’t matter or that were never defined properly.

Robert Fritz

The fundamental nature of problem solving is to drive something (the problem) out of existence. The fundamental nature of creating is to bring something that is desired into existence.

Alfred Armand Montapert

We see problems, not as they are, but as we are. That’s why attitude plays such a crucial role in separating those who lead from those who follow. Alfred Armand Montapert said, “The majority see the obstacles; the few see the objectives; history records the successes of the latter, while oblivion is the reward of the former.”

Gil Troy

Problem ­solving invites reason, compromise, and, ultimately, mutual respect; ­identity ­building invites posturing, passion, and, ultimately, intolerance.

Jeffrey Liker

In Toyota’s view, you don’t have a problem without a standard. Someone might tell his or her boss, “We’re not meeting our delivery date” or “Our meetings are not happening on time.” And the boss would say, “What is the standard? What would be acceptable lateness?” or “Why is lateness a problem? What is the result of lateness?” As long as the standards are clear, … [ Read more ]

Albert Einstein

It’s not that I am so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.

Dr. Ralph Gerard

Reason can answer questions, but imagination has to ask them.

Denis Couillard

When a company faces an adaptive challenge, the locus of responsibility for problem solving must shift to its people. Innovative and well-adapted solutions reside in the collective intelligence of employees at all levels, who need to use one another as resources, often across boundaries, and learn their way towards solutions.