Solving a Problem is Often a Matter of Perspective

Some days we feel as though all we do is address problems other people have. It could be a problem with a supplier, a problem with a program, someone on our team, or it could be a problem no one can even identify – we just know it’s a problem. We often serve the role of problem solvers.

It’s frustrating, when you feel you’ve done your best to address a problem, but people still have a problem. The problem – from their perspective – still exists. That’s because fixing a problem – addressing the problem – doesn’t always solve the problem – at least in the mind of others.

Solving a problem is often a matter of perspective. Understanding this principle means a few things:

First, whether or not you’ve solved a problem – or even addressed it in some people’s eyes – may be based more on a person’s perspective, their personal interests or desires, and even their emotional investment at times, than it is on some measurable reality.

Second, we should keep trying to fix the problems we agree need fixing. It doesn’t mean we ignore them – we just need to be conscious of the fact we may not solve everyone’s concern with the problem. We may never make everyone happy – as hard as we may try to solve their problems.

Finally, and more importantly, we should always attempt to understand the real problem from other person’s perspective. As much as possible, we should discover what solving the problem would even look like in their eyes. At this point, we can determine whether we can truly solve the problem to their satisfaction.

Summing-up: Solving the real problem involves asking good questions, repeating back what you think you’ve heard, and following up to see how you’ve progressed towards addressing the real concerns. Sometimes we’ll be able to and sometimes not, but everyone should at least know what’s considered resolution to the problem.

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