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Solving Problems With the Rule of Three

Rothman Consulting Group, Inc.
Vol 8, #4:  Solving Problems With the Rule of Three
June 28, 2011
Solving Problems With the Rule of Three
You may have noticed in these emails that I articulate a problem I’ve seen and then provide you a minimum of three potential reasonable solutions. Sometimes, I even have four solutions. That’s because I use the Rule of Three to help develop these solutions–and it works.
When you go start to solve a problem, sometimes, you get stuck. You think you have just one solution. That happens to me a lot. And, that’s a trap. It’s also a sign that I don’t understand the problem well enough. I might need to talk to someone about the problem, or collect more data, or somehow experiment more to understand the problem Because one solution, even a great solution, is a trap.
With two potential solutions, I have a dilemma. Which solution do I choose? How can I make a decision?  Maybe I still don’t know enough about the problem. Maybe I still haven’t collected enough data or talked to enough people or run enough experiments or tests.

But once I have three solutions, now, I have a real choice. And, I have likely broken the logjam thinking that I had with the first and second solutions. I am probably onto solutions four, five, and six, just because I have generated solution three.This kind of problem solving leadership is not common. And, it is what’s needed in our organizations today. Practice using the Rule of Three, and you will be much more successful at work.

Interested in Bettering your Problem Solving Skills?

If you want to learn how to make the most of your problem solving skills, Jerry Weinberg, Esther Derby, and I are teaching aProblem Solving Leadership workshop this Aug 28-Sep 2 in Albuquerque, NM. If you would like to participate, let me know.
The Rule of Three is not something we teach, surprisingly enough. But it is often one of the tools we use in response to something that occurs in the workshop. PSL is totally experiential. We never quite know what lessons will arise, and we know there will be many every day. That’s why PSL is a joy to teach and a joy to participate in, both as a student and a teacher.
New to the Pragmatic Manager?

See back issues here.
I keep my blogs current with my writings:Managing Product Development
Hiring Technical People
and my newest blog (with it’s own new mailing list) Create an Adaptable Life.

© 2011 Johanna Rothman

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