The way we approach problem solving influences the solutions we can see — and are willing to see. When problem solving gets stuck, sometimes the best way to get unstuck isn’t to keep searching for better options or downgrade our expectations, but to flip the problem we’re trying to solve.
When you can’t agree even with your best effort, having fallback criteria can break the agreement logjam and allow you get on with other things.
The Einstellung effect is a cognitive trap that prevents us from seeing better or simpler solutions to problems we’re trying to solve. Here’s how to recognize it and reduce its effect.
Conflict has a way of magnifying our bad listening habits. I frequently see the following listening habits get in the way of constructive and collaborative problem-solving during conflict and thought I’d flag them for attention.
When we get into a conflict with someone, it’s natural to replay our experience of the conflict, both in our minds and as we tell others about it. Over time, this replay can begin to feel like The Truth About What Happened. But it isn’t.
Gravity problems make conflict resolution more difficult because they sidetrack us from actionable problems. Here’s how to recognize gravity problems when you see them, why they’re troublesome, and how to prevent them from hijacking resolution.
There are some problems and squabbles that aren’t worth our effort to pursue. Maybe we’re never going to see that person again, or it’s a small enough problem that we know we won’t care about it in a few days, weeks, or months. If your mind keeps chewing on little problems like these, try this brief visualization for letting them go.
Most people don’t want to be wrangled into doing something you want but they don’t. Here are three ways to turn them into your problem-solving partners and dissolve resistance.
When I ask clients why they let a problem go on for so long before addressing it, a common reply is, “I was afraid I’d create more conflict by raising it.” It’s an understandable fear. Here are some tried-and-true ways to raise an issue for discussion without making matters worse.
When a difficult conversation rattles you, using a centering question can help you get your balance back. Here are favorite centering questions I share with my clients, along with guidelines for developing your own.