One of the life lessons I learned a long time ago was the premise that you are either in the middle of a storm, just coming out of a storm, or about to go into one. It’s not meant to be a doom and gloom view of the world, just reflective of reality. Think about it … whether you call them storms, or use the terminology from the attached article (problems, challenges, and issues) life is full of them. Depending on the approach you take in dealing them, the outcomes can be very different. It is no different in the workplace, and especially in our roles as Product Management Leaders. How often do things go according to plan? Sometimes it feels like the biggest part of our jobs is firefighting, contingency planning, re-baselining, etc.

The article provides some really sound advice to framing the approach to problem solving, here are just a few highlights:

• Choice – The first step is to accept that the business has to take a choice which has consequences that will determine different outcomes.
• Action – Success in turning a problem into an opportunity means taking immediate action, and those that lag behind will struggle to survive … At one time strategy was seen as a planning activity when companies needed to reconsider their business strategies only once in a while. Today any company will be at risk if it is not constantly adjusting, applying operational changes and strategy should be viewed as a path finder to constantly seek new opportunities.
• Reflect – Use problems to reassess your current way of doing business and opportunities will appear as a result of your projection of them.

I subscribe to the approach I saw floating around LinkedIn recently in a graphic that basically pointed out that you generally come out stronger on the other side of the storm. In approaching it as a learning experience or growth opportunity, you begin to frame it differently.
What is Your Approach to Problem-Solving?