Working Through a Problem

Key Takeaways

  • Sometimes when we have a problem, we need creativity to find solutions.
  • There are behavioral strategies we can employ to improve our creative problem-solving skills.
  • We’ll review five creative tips for working through a problem.

When we encounter problems, we may find we need to employ some creativity to solve them, especially when the problems are new. Just as the world evolves and new problems emerge, our ability to find solutions needs to evolve.

If you’re having trouble getting that creativity going, behavioral strategists Dan Gregory and Kieran Flanagan have five suggestions to help, which we’ll review here.

  1. Ideas are a numbers game. You may come up with dozens of ideas as you brainstorm. The majority of the first several will be obvious, surface-level ideas. But as you keep going, you’ll take your thinking to a deeper level, finding the ideas that really work.
  2. Think in questions. We oftentimes jump to the conclusions before we ask the questions. For instance, you might say, “I want to buy this high-yield bond because it pays a high percentage, thereby giving me more income.” Rather than making a statement like this, try turning it into a question that asks, “What investment strategy do I need so that I end up with more income?” It’s important to ask thinking questions because this broadens the number of our possible solutions.
  3. Don’t come up with ideas. Come up with solutions. In the business world, this equates to looking at a problem that a client or customer has and finding a solution for that problem. It’s very difficult to come up with a unique and useful idea on its own. Rather than starting from that point, try looking at the problems first, then look for solutions to those problems.
  4. Back yourself into a corner. Take your problem and add parameters to it, to the point where you’re feeling uncomfortable and perhaps breaking out in a bit of a sweat. This sort of duress can help our brains work better, forcing us to come up with better ideas and solutions.
  5. Collide ideas and thinking. There’s a saying, “You can’t read the label from inside the jar.” We all have a jar we’re in – our own environment in which we function. We have to get outside that jar and expose our minds to new things by reading, researching different industries, talking to people with different perspectives and experiences, and just generally doing things outside our usual routines. We can then take this new information and apply it to our own industry and come up with new solutions.

These are five really great thinking tips if you’re working through a problem, seeking a solution. Try walking through these and you may find you get something robust out of them. Until next time, enjoy.



If you’d like to read more on this topic, here are a few of our past Coyle Blog posts that you might enjoy:

The Positive Problem

Being Wrong in a Different Way




Gary Klaben serves as a Financial Advisor, and visionary for Coyle Financial Counsel. He has over 30 years of experience and is the author of Changing the Conversation, Wealth of Everything and co-author of The Business BattlefieldWhether advising his clients, mentoring his team, or coaching entrepreneurs, he is always simplifying complexity and motivating others to take the next action that’s right for them.

Learn more about The Coyle Process, approach designed to get your arms around the big picture, so you can make informed financial decisions. Ask Gary about The Coyle Process and schedule a complimentary consultation and start living the Good Life Managed Well™.
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All information is from sources deemed reliable, but no warranty is made to its accuracy or completeness.   This material is being provided for informational or educational purposes only, and does not take into account the investment objectives or financial situation of any client or prospective client.  The information is not intended as investment advice, and is not a recommendation to buy, sell, or invest in any particular investment or market segment.  Those seeking information regarding their particular investment needs should contact a financial professional.  Coyle, our employees, or our clients, may or may not be invested in any individual securities or market segments discussed in this material.  The opinions expressed were current as of the date of posting but are subject to change without notice due to market, political, or economic conditions. All investments involve risk, including loss of principal.  Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

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