WHAT’S YOUR PROBLEM?

As a disciple of Herb Kelleher (this blog site’s sub-headline is his quote “We have a strategic plan. It’s called doing things”), I’m an advocate for taking action and doing things. Remember, a consumer never sees your strategy – just the collection of experiences and brand activity you put out into the world.
 
But with that bias for action and eagerness to create solutions, I make sure I always begin with the key question “what problem are we solving?”
 
This simple question does a ton of heavy lifting for you and your brand in both the short- and long-term.
 
It gets everyone on the same page: Defining the problem demands alignment. Once defined and agreed to, work must be developed and reviewed against the same criteria and demands.
 
It flattens biases and opinions: Without a clearly defined problem, reactions and evaluation will be purely subjective and personal. With an agreed-upon problem statement, feedback must begin with whether the ideas, work, or actions are on-target for the objective.
 
It keeps you from chasing shiny objects: People and teams can get seduced into pursuing “cool” activities or doing things because they’re trendy. But if you’ve properly queried and then defined the problem you’re trying to solve, the shininess of the object is secondary to the question of whether your efforts are aligned with solving the problem
 
You go beyond treating the symptom to addressing the cause: Sometimes teams think they’ve identified the problem but are only describing a symptom of the problem. But saying “revenue is down” isn’t nearly as helpful as identifying that “repeat rate has declined, so revenue from new customers isn’t offsetting organic losses”. The first could lead to an infinite number of solutions, from promotions to lead generation and beyond. But the second aligns solutions around solving for current customer loyalty and LTV issues.
 
As Albert Einstein once said, “If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 55 minutes defining the problem and five minutes resolving it.” While you might be well-served spending a higher ratio of your time on your solution-ing, the quality of your solutions will be in direct proportion to your clarity around the problem you’re trying to solve.
 
You have a problem with that?

2 Comments

  1. spot on Michael – so many get this so wrong (or not even half right – hovering over it at 30000 ft).

    How’s reading my book going?

    T

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    Ton Dobbe

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    On Thu, Dec 02, 2021 at 16:53:46, Michael Baer’s Stratecution Stories wrote:

    > stratecutionstories posted: ” As a disciple of Herb Kelleher (this blog > site’s sub-headline is his quote “We have a strategic plan. It’s called > doing things”), I’m an advocate for taking action and doing things. > Remember, a consumer never sees your strategy – just the collection ” >

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