Bad Girl, Good Business


Reading Time: 2 minutes

We all have puzzles. 

And they aren’t as much fun as the jigsaw and crossword types. Sometimes we don’t even realize that we have them. Business problems…personal challenges…unproductive behaviors and habits that get in the way of growth, relationships, and prosperity.

Everyone has a different problem-solving style. When I do jigsaw puzzles, I always start at the edges and build a “frame.” I look for patterns within the puzzle, but refrain from looking at the picture on the box unless I get really stuck. I get more satisfaction from doing it that way. We all have our own puzzle styles in business too.

Next week, Sam Gennawey (an urban planner) and I are leading a workshop on problem-solving and innovation at the Tri-State Camp Conference. He has a very cool technique that involve big sheets of paper and markers and drawing pictures. He’s done a lot of writing about Disney and is sort of obsessed (in a good way) with fun shared experiences. And I will be contributing all the fun online tools for group problem-solving (even if your team is all over the world). So much for the commercial message…

Getting ready for the session has prompted me to look at all the unsolved puzzles in my own business and life…those unfilled boxes and random shapes that beg to be filled in and constructed. As you look to your own puzzle shelf, ask:

  • Do I have the right talent in my organization? Who belongs in those boxes?
  • Do I have enough pieces to fill in the frame? Do I have enough of the right kinds of clients/customers?
  • What’s my own process for problem solving? Is it still working for me?
  • Have I been focusing on the right puzzle? Am I jumping between the Rubik’s Cube, the crossword, and the jigsaw without knowing which one is most important?
  • Am I truly committed to solving the puzzle? Or do I keep wandering off to get a cup of coffee or pretzels rather than focusing on the hard work. Sometimes taking a break gives you a new perspective, however. Just don’t leave the messy pieces sitting out on the table for weeks and weeks.

These questions present their own little puzzle. But most puzzles have a solution. And yes…you ask for help and look at the box sometimes!

Not-so-puzzling facts and perspectives:



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