What's Your Problem?

To Solve Your Toughest Problems, Change the Problems You Solve

Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg

Publisher: Harvard Business School, 2020, 220 pages

ISBN: 978-1-63369-722-5

Keywords: Change Management

Last modified: Aug. 23, 2021, 10:33 a.m.

Are you solving the right problems?

Have you or your colleagues ever worked hard on something, only to find out you were focusing on the wrong problem entirely? Most people have. In a survey, 85 percent of companies said they often struggle to solve the right problems. The consequences are severe: Leaders fight the wrong strategic battles. Teams spend their energy on low-impact work. Startups build products that nobody wants. Organizations implement "solutions" that somehow make things worse, not better. Everywhere you look, the waste is staggering. As Peter Drucker pointed out, there's nothing more dangerous than the right answer to the wrong question.

There is a way to do better.

The key is reframing, a crucial, underutilized skill that you can master with the help of this book. Using real-world stories and unforgettable examples like "the slow elevator problem," author Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg offers a simple, three-step method — Frame, Reframe, Move Forward — that anyone can use to start solving the right problems. Reframing is not difficult to learn. It can be used on everyday challenges and on the biggest, trickiest problems you face. In this visually engaging, deeply researched book, you’ll learn from leaders at large companies, from entrepreneurs, consultants, nonprofit leaders, and many other breakthrough thinkers.

It's time for everyone to stop barking up the wrong trees. Teach yourself and your team to reframe, and growth and success will follow.

  • Part One: Solve the Right Problem
    • Introduction: What's Your Problem?
    1. Reframing Explained
  • Part Two: How to Reframe
    1. Getting Ready to Reframe
    2. Frame the Problem
    3. Look Outside the Frame
    4. Rethink Goal
    5. Examining Bright Spots
    6. Look in the Mirror
    7. Take Their Perspective
    8. Move Forward
  • Part Three: Overcome Resistance
    1. Three Tactical Challenges
    2. When People Resist Reframing
    • Conclusion: A Word in Parting
  • Appendix: Recommended Reading