Last week, at the end of a discussion on problem-solving, Malcolm, a very thoughtful person I am coaching, exclaimed, “Don’t just solve problems – dissolve them!” What he meant is that if we frame the problem we want to solve only in mechanistic terms – for example, reduce number of customers receiving incorrect invoices by 30% – then we’ll probably work on solving many surface-level problems to ensure we hit our target. However, if we frame the problem differently, “What could we do so that no customer ever gets an error on their invoice again?”, we’ll encourage people to take a creative, more holistic, deeper systems level view of the entire process. So, next time you start working on a problem, think about how you frame it. Do your customers want you to just hit the target and ‘solve’ the problem for now? Or do they want you to ‘dissolve’ the problem and create the best experience possible for them for the long-term?

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