2020 Problem Solving & Decision Making

We’re wrapping up 2019 and crafting 2020 visions.  At TeamStrength, our mission is ‘Making Great Business Leaders Better’ and our focus for this year has been strategy.  Our holiday gifts are two additional tools for addressing issues and making better decisions – gifts that truly keep on giving.

GROW Blueprints are used in each TeamStrength meeting to frame issues for presentation, collaboration and feedback.  Just the process of getting it down on paper in this format starts moving things in the right direction.  Here are the basics:

Goal: Begin with the end in mind.  Sometimes we got so caught up in the problem, we forget to think about our overall, long-term goal.  Get past the focus on an immediate situation, and really think about why it needs addressed, and how it impacts your organization and your team at the highest level.

Relevant Information: Describe the situation.  Outline the current situation and history that led to it.  Then take a bit more time to describe the future impact of the problem if unresolved.  Finally, identify the biggest obstacles and the remedies you’ve already explored.

Options: Identify the choices to get to the goal.  These could be either/or options, or steps which could all contribute to reaching the goal.  Take some time to outline pro’s and con’s of each.

What Else?: Identify 2-3 key questions for collaboration.  Big-picture questions, like ‘what am I missing?’ or ‘how do I prioritize the options?’ can lead to great discussion and tap into the superpower of collaboration with your team, your boss and your peers.

Use this template to map out your next problem and then collaborate with others to find real solutions.



And the next time you need to make a choice on anything from the next key hire to which house to purchase, take time to clarify your thinking with Must/Like/Can’t lists.  This simple process can help you avoid making a bad decision with just a few minutes of consideration.  Here’s what you do:

Must Haves: Identify the non-negotiable elements of the choice.  This is a short list of things that matter most in the selection.  For a key hire you might require a minimum level of experience or a clear fit with your culture.  For an important purchase it might be a maximum price and one or two critical features.  Keep the Must Haves list short and collaborate with others involved to get clarity.

Like to Haves: Create a list of positive elements you would like.  This is a longer list of other things that would positively influence the decision.  Again, ask others to create a list of things that would add value.  What additional features in a home would be appreciated, though not mandatory?  In a key hire, what traits or additional experience would make a candidate better, though not required?

Can’t Haves: Name one or two things that would eliminate the option.  This is the shortest of the three lists, and it is simply one or two things that end all consideration of the choice.  For a candidate, it might be a failed background check or a history of short tenure at previous roles.  For a purchase, it could be one or two things that you know would drive you crazy and have to avoid at all cost.

Some important reminders – create the Must/Like/Can’t list before you start investigating options. If you don’t, confirmation bias may creep into the list so that it aligns with an option you’ve already found.  Then use the list to find good candidates, and carefully review finalists against the criteria – objectively holding yourself to the standards you’ve created.  Remember no amount of ‘Like to Haves’ will make up for a missing ‘Must Have’ or an existing ‘Can’t Have.’

The GROW Blueprint frames your problems for better collaboration and solution, and Must/Can’t/Have lists help avoid bad decisions because of a missed a key requirement or an overlooked red flag.  Use both as needed to continue your success.  Thanks for a great year in 2019 – looking forward to 2020!!!