Piercing the Veil of Uncertainty

Sometimes when I talk to people about impediments, it feels as though the conversation gets pulled down into despair. It’s particularly acute with the “big” impediments – the ones that it seems we have no hope of solving. Sometimes the conversation dies right there.

But I’ve learned that it doesn’t have to.

There is a different set of moves that we can use in this dance. We start off exploring the boundaries of the the situation. How pervasive is the problem? how extensive is the damage? But we don’t stop there. We continue until we get that signal, that feeling in the pits of our stomaches that says, “I’m not sure we can fix this.” Then we switch gears (I’ve learned this is the hard part). We go into elaboration mode. We describe the problem in as detailed a fashion as possible – the very act of describing the problem helping to reduce uncertainty. We start to brainstorm all of the options that we have for dealing for that problem (or in many cases what is actually multiple problems). Now, not only are we looking at a problem, but we also have an array of solutions.

What if you have no idea how to solve the problem? Google it. If you can articulate an impediment, you can bet that someone has proposed a solution.

Finally, once you have a set of alternative solutions to the problem, pick your favorite and create an execution plan. Flesh it out in as much detail as you can. The more vivid you can make it, the more likely it is that you will be successful.

You see, if you use an approach like this, then for any given impediment, you have a strategy. By doing so you have eliminated a great deal of the uncertainty and have set yourself on the path to executing a solution – that is a much better place to be. Whatever you do, don’t stop half way.

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