How To Solve Any Problem – Johnnie Cass


1.Clearly define the 'problem' 

Most problems are actually due to a lack of 

communication or clarity around what the 

problem actually is in the first place. How many 

times in your life have you actually discovered that 

the problem you thought you had wasn't even the

problem? Keep digging and get to the root of the 


How many drugs are prescribed that don't actually

cure the problem? How many wars do you think

solve the problems at hand? Clearly define the

'problem' through precise questioning and active

listening, and you are well on the way to the

solution: “a problem well stated is a problem

half solved.”

2.Have a 'How can I' not an 'I can't' attitude

Approach the problem with the attitude that there

is a logical, practical solution, even if you

don't know what it is yet. Be relaxed, confident

and clear in your mind that the solution is

there, and you just need to go through a natural,

necessary process to get from A. the problem, to

B. the solution.

Change your language from the negative to

positive. Instead of the word “problem,” use the

word “challenge.” Problem is a negative word

while challenge defines something that is there

to be solved, a task that could even be fun,

something to feel a sense of achievement to. 

3.What are the causes of the 'problem'? 

[now 'challenge'] Failure to identify the causes or

reasons for the 'challenge' often means the

problem recurs time and again. Like Yo-Yo 

dieting is often linked to an emotional based

challenge – not the food or exercise on the

surface. And recurring mistakes or themes in your

life are probably more deeply rooted. 

It is so much faster and more powerful to get to

the root cause of the challenge, than to attempt

to solve the 'surface' of the challenge.

4. What are all the possible solutions? 

List and physically write down as many solutions or

answers to the 'challenge' as possible. The

quantity of possible solutions usually determines

the quality of the solution, and you will be

amazed at just how many potentially limitless

solutions there are to one challenge.

This also has the powerful effect of devaluing

the challenge. I once wrote down 356 solutions to

one problem and it made it look pretty


The longer your list, the more creative and

'left-field' the solution, and they are often the

best. They are also often the ones you don't

usually think of, and so are new opportunities.

5. Make a decision. 

Usually any decision is better than none. People 

are scared to make decisions, often go around in 

circles, and worry that any decision they may make, 

might be wrong. The only wrong decision is no decision, 

because even if you are not sure that the decision you

have made is the right one, it will either get

you one step closer to the right decision, give

you the feedback you need to get to the solution,

or teach you something new. You then have the

power to make even a bad decision the right one.

6. Have Faith in Yourself. 

You have all the tools available now to solve any 

problem, give yourself some credit and have faith 

in your abilities; you're far more amazing than you 

realise! – at least that's what my Mum always told me 😉

7. Assign responsibility for carrying out the

decision with clarity.

Clearly designate the responsibility to solve the problem. 

The clearer, the better. If you are outsourcing or delegating

the action to solve, give them autonomy to make

the decisions too. 

8. Set a deadline for completion. 

A decision without a deadline is a debate. Be practical 

when it comes to implementing the solution, review it,

monitor it and set an end date to make it happen.

Have others buy into the decision and the end

date so they take on responsibility too.

9. Follow-up, monitor the decision and feedback.

Was the outcome as you hoped or expected? What

worked? What could have been done better next

time? How can we avoid having the same challenge

again? Create new solutions and new courses of


Have a great, problem solving weekend Juswant

Johnnie Cass