I believe, when these steps are applied. All problems are solvable.
The problem is not the problem, the problem is your knowledge about the problem
The #1 blind spot that I see...every...single...time when I am helping a business or anyone solve a problem is, their absolute blind ignorance to their ego. Below are the mental steps I take to combat my ego and step outside myself to solve every problem. Problem solving is a game of neurology, psychology, and knowledge.
Stimulus - Roadblock (Problem Arrives)
First Typical Response: It's (fill in the blank) fault. Why? On the neurological side, the mere act of hesitation/mistake triggers a neurological response similar to "fear" from your Medulla Oblongata. Blood slowly moves towards the back of your brain AWAY from your Pre-Frontal Cortex. Your Pre-Frontal Cortex is in charge of logic, and cue the music - problem solving. The second you realize there is a mistake made, your body immediately starts priming itself for a flight or fight response. In essence, it takes away functionality form the part of the brain that is ACTUALLY GOING TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM. Irony at its finest.
But this is how I respond:
Step #1: Neurological Response: I hedge my neurological response. Take Deeeeep breaths (try box breathing). I think about what is going on in my brain right now and think to myself; "A loss does not equal defeat, every problem is a opportunity to learn how to keep that problem from happening again."
Step #2: Psychological Response: Take 100% ownership of the problem no matter whose fault it really is. If a vendor screwed up? Then I didn't vet them well enough. Employee? Then I didn't train them well enough. Miscommunication? I didn't make my self clear. Break down in process? I didn't teach them well enough. Whatever it is. Its my fault and no one else. Why? Because you can't control 95% of things that happen in life, so I take full responsibility so that I retain maximum possible ownership and control.
Step #3: Knowledge Response: I take the problem and learn everything there is to know about it from all angles. And I do mean everything.
The very first step towards solving a problem is learning everything there is to know about the problem - Ivan
#Step 4: Create Paradigm Shifting Questions: These can vary from problem to problem. But, the goal is to create questions that will pivot the angle at which you tackle the problem and force you to step outside yourself. Here are two that are semi-generic that have helped me a majority of the time. So often, one of the main issues is that we are asking the wrong questions.
If I knew this was going to happen and I couldn't stop it, what could I do to prevent it from happening.
EXAMPLE: If I knew my car was going to run out of gas, and I couldn't put anymore in. What could I do to prevent myself from running out of gas? I could walk, bike, take an Uber, a bus, etc.
Am I treating the symptom or the problem?
EXAMPLE: I could take the bus because my car will run out of gas. But why do I even need to travel in the first place? The symptom is that I am running out of gas, the problem is that I have to travel in the first place.
STEP #5 Take the problem, break it down into micro problems. Solve the biggest micro problem.
EXAMPLE: We have a growing need for freshwater. Most people are trying to desalination water (take the salt out of salt water). But when you dive into the problem, you'll see that 80% of our fresh water goes to agriculture. 80% of agriculture's water goes to animals. So now the problem changes. Do we have a meat problem or a water problem? The same problem that could be solved by massive desalination plants, can also be solved by the US going on a plant based diet. For the record, I am not saying I want to, but you get the problem solving paradigm shift.
STEP #6 Come up with a solution, try it, review the data, then try better. This is were 90% of people end. They try one solution and give up. Or they let the ego get in the way. At this point you'll here a lot of these phrases; "That's not how we've done it in the past." "That's how we did it over there." "That's not possible." What does the data say? Follow that! There is only one way to solve the problem, and that is the way that actually solves it. Every other way is incorrect. Ego, fear, society, feelings, personal interests have no place. Ask yourself - NO BULLSHIT, WHAT WOULD IT TAKE?