Four facets of problem-solving

When faced with a problem, determining how we wish to engage with it can help focus our attention and resources.

  1. Ignore the problem: change nothing.
  2. Manage the emotions caused by the problem: change our own internal perceptions; our emotions and thoughts. The locus of control is all internal. The behaviour change is directed at the internal (cognitive and emotive) world.
  3. Work around the problem: change our behaviors in how we respond to the problem. The locus of control is still internal, but some of the behaviour change is now directed towards the external world.
  4. Work on the problem: changing our own perceptions-behaviors as well as the pensions-behaviors of others who are involved in the problem. Needless to say, this is the hardest aspect of solving a problem.

These aspects apply equally to how individuals and organisations approach problems.