Byron's Babbles

Work The Problem

Posted in Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development, puzzle by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on October 11, 2021

I love the phrase, “Work the problem.” I’ve heard some of my military trained friends use this phrase. To me it means not sticking our heads in the sand and ignoring the problem or hoping it goes away. It also means we won’t guess. As Gene Kranz would say, “Work the problem. Don’t make it worse by guessing.” What he was saying was that to work the problem we need a firm understanding of the complex puzzle and what’s going on to work the problem.

Let’s also not forget in The Martian when Mark Watney, was stranded alone on Mars. My favorite quote from the movie after him having the mantra of working the problem was, “You begin. You do the math. You solve one problem, then the next one and then the next one. If you solve enough problems, you get to come home.” It’s kind of like making a puzzle; one piece at a time.

To work the problem we need to define the problem or challenge. Then we need to determine the desired outcome. For Watney, it was coming home. Information and research gathering comes next, followed by the most important part: the game plan. Then we go from working the problem to working the plan.


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