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Creative Problem Solving for Leadership

September 18th, 2007 · 4 Comments

Creative Problem Solving

There are always problems and often there is more than one solution to the problem.  The task of leadership is to know the right path to lead an organization, while the task of management is to know the right way to trudge that path.  As leaders, we know that the best solutions or the optimal outcome is not necessarily the easiest, the clearest, or even the best reasoned.  Sometimes there is more than meets the eye.

Leadership quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

When I first heard about the term “creative problems solving,” I learned a valuable exercise.  I was told to create a list of ten solutions to each problem you encounter.  You may find that the first or second solution is optimal.  However, learning how to exercise the mind and find nine more solutions, teaches you how to think outside the box, how to see every angle to a problem, and how to determine some very creative solutions.

7 Solutions

Creative solutions are not dealing with the straight-forward causal-type of reasoning, but delve deeper to find what may be better than you could ever have reasoned before.  It’s determining that new frontier to lead your organization.  With the promise that developing your creative outlook to problems will benefit you and your organization, I present a list of 7 Solutions for Creative Problem-Solving:

1. Sleep on it

Creativity stems from the unconscious, and more powerful, mind.  Sometimes, in order to bring the thoughts to your conscious, you need to give your mind a rest.  You don’t always need to give it a full nights sleep, but sometimes a good power-nap will work wonders.

2. “Clear the mind” meditation

If taking a nap may be a bit too unorthodox for your workplace, then try to clear your mind.  Having already given great thought to the problem, take a moment to stop thinking about it, just clear the mind.  The creativity will work its way to the forefront of your conscious with relaxation.

3. Sit in a whirlpool or take a shower

Water works wonders to help you relax and relaxation works wonders to bring out the creative.

4. Go to the gym

A good work out will focus the exercise of your muscles and release important chemicals in your body.  Those chemicals help to counter stress and clear the mind.

5. Go for a walk

This is the technique that I use the most.  It’s quite easy to get up and walk around the building or walk around the block.  A brisk walk will produce similar effects to a work out, but without the need to shower afterwards.

6. Go to lunch

Break for lunch and feed your body.  The body naturally responds positively to a healthy lunch and you can find the break to be sufficient for the creative juices.

7. Have a jovial conversation

Joking with friends and colleagues is very healthy.  The laughter creates positive effects on the mind and the break will allow you to find the solutions to problems.


Whatever technique you utilize, continually seeking 10 solutions to every problem will teach your mind to think creatively (the great business concept of innovation) about problems and solutions.  You will be able to think up solutions that may even surprise you at time and may prove wonders for the success of your organization.

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Tags: Innovation · Leadership · Problems Solving · Ralph Waldo Emerson · To Do

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ivan // Sep 18, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    Nice suggestions. I don’t know if it makes sense to everyone, but here’s another one: solve a lot of problems. They can be real or hypothetical. The thing is, practice makes perfect, and the more problems you solve, the more automatic the solution will come to you. The right solutions will be on your sub-conscious.

  • 2 Jon // Sep 19, 2007 at 11:25 pm

    That’s exactly right. Practice is what will enable you or anyone to improve your ability to solve problems.

  • 3 Now is the Time for Leadership // Oct 27, 2007 at 4:53 pm

    […] For assistance, see Creative Problem Solving for Leadership. […]

  • 4 Stop the Stupidity of Worrying // Apr 30, 2009 at 8:04 am

    […] while back I wrote an article about Creative Problem Solving for Leaders and I recommend that you read it. Thinking creatively about solutions is one of the most valuable […]

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