Strategy = Two Problems

“Life is a continuous exercise in creative problem solving,” says Michael Gelb in his book How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci. The human brain is a problem-solving engine and mental frames define the reasoning process.

In strategy development, almost every problem is actually not just a single problem, but rather two problems wrapped together.  Let's call these Problem A and Problem B.

Problem A is obvious. It is the business problem we are trying to solve with the strategy.  It's staring us in the face.  The pitfall with Problem A is that we usually do a lousy job of defining the problem.  Our brains are wired to look for the obvious or easy answers by defining the problem in obvious and easy ways.  This can be avoided through the use of "framing" and it's helpful early in the OGSP process - usually with Mission and Objective.

Problem B is less obvious, sometimes invisible, but every bit as important as Problem A.  Problem B is how the group or team is going to solve Problem A.  Teams are made up of a wide range of cognitive styles and personalities, yet we individually assume that "everyone looks at the world exactly like me."  We call dealing with Problem B "team cognition management" and use several tools which can help teams thrive (and not struggle) with their cognitive diversity.

Click on the links to the right to learn more about framing and team cognition.

The Problem A and Problem B description is from Dr. Michael Kirton's work on Adaption-Innovation: In the Context of Diversity and Change.