Many of the challenges we face as a leader seem tough, unusual, and perhaps unsolvable. Many puzzle enthusiasts, working on puzzles as diverse as Sudoku, crosswords, video games (and more) thrill for puzzles with those same descriptors.
Perhaps our leadership lesson from them starts from recognizing their attitude and it’s important to ultimate success. Rather than procrastinating or ignoring a tough problem, puzzlers get started.
Once they get started they likely use a three step formula (consciously or not) to help them get going.
1. Look for patterns.
2. Find the way in.
3. Build on your success.
I read these three points in the May issue of Wired Magazine (the issue isn’t online at this writing). The points are attributed to Dvora K. Klaviatura, head of the Belarus Enigmatology Institute, and you can see how they make sense to a puzzle.
When considering a challenge or problem you as facing as a leader, make these steps part of your next leadership activities:
1. Recognize that problems and challenges come with the territory. Rather than lamenting or procrastinating, take the puzzlers approach and dive in. Not only do you stand to solve the problem, but you will also learn something and gain confidence and excitement from success!
2. Look for patterns. Ask yourself questions like: What about this situation looks or seems like past challenges or problems? What else does this situation remind me of?
3. Find the way in. Look for an entry point – something to try, someone to talk to, a way to begin a conversation, a question to ask. Finding the way in, helps you take action and get started.
4. Build on your success. Once you have gotten started, be persistent. Use what you have learned up until this point to help you be more successful. Apply what has proven successful so far as you move forward (without becoming blinded by success – remember the challenge you face may be pretty complex!)
Consider these steps as you solve a leadership puzzle – and recognize these as building blocks to your effective leadership skills.