One of the assumptions I have about strategy and strategic planning is that there is no problem-free solution.  In other words, every solution has a set of problems that accompanies it.  How do you determine which solution to use?  Most groups simply go along with the loudest voice or the most powerful voice…or the most authoritative voice.  My recommendation is to identify the solutions that seem best…actually list all the reasonable ones…and then assess the problems that accompany each with brutal honesty.  Don’t play favorites.  If you need to, bring in a nonpartisan bystander.  This is a fantastic team exercise that will help your team work through the possibilities.  Once you’ve carefully listed out the problems of each solution (they’ll all have problems) your work is half done.  Next, make your decision about what to do based on the problem set you’d rather have.

Now, I’m always finding new nuances of the exercise.  I found one in a discussion just this last week.  I’ve come to the conclusion that the pursuit of problem-free is often related to the attempt to delay implementation.  I put up several posts in the last year about Peter Block’s great book, The Answer to How Is Yes: Acting on What Matters.  He makes a very similar point when he writes about the idea that many requests for more information (how much will it cost, how long will it take, etc.) are simply an attempt to delay.  For more on the idea from Block you can check out The Speed of Implementation.

Thoughts?  Let me know how it works for you!

The Pursuit of Problem-Free