How Do Leaders Problem Solve Effectively?

…all hat and no cattle?

As a CEO I have the opportunity to see all kinds of people at work at all levels. As I see employees progress or stagnate in their roles, there seems to be a point of excellence difference based on the degree one takes the lead as a problem solver regardless of position. Here is the process I see people who are effective at problem solving and pro-active in leadership, generally follow:

They have a self accountable mind set where they believe they can make a situation better.

They gather facts and data on the situation by actively engaging others who are impacted. This usually involves a formal or informal “campaign” of providing information on the impact of the problem and asking for suggestions in solution development.

They are decisive in choosing a solution supported by insight stemming from #2 above and then applying a solution.

But this next step is where some of the people who are exceptional at proactive leadership show their stuff… they have a campaign advertising the effectiveness of the problem-solving applied solution. People want to know that their input was put to work.

Success energizes the group and they are ready for more. If not, fatigue often takes over.

If we want data to support this process, review the work of Harvard professors as reported in Working Knowledge, August 30 2010. This research shows that information campaigns led to a 74% increase in suggestions to improve and even more when people learned about the effectiveness of working solutions.

Try the above process on a small or large problem in your area. See what happens. Otherwise we’re all talk and no action. Or as the saying goes, “All hat, no cattle.”

Living the Triangle,


  1. lorne says:

    I really admoire people who are professional sales people . The gretaest ones are superb listners and problem solves. They see themselves as sales people and are proud of it. And as you note ….the contribution is making things better

    thnx for following T


  2. I am always enlightened by your Blog post. For me, insight to the executive viewpoint is very valuable to my professional growth

    What does leadership mean to me as a Sales Professionals?
    We have a set of values. We define success not by the amount of money we earn but how we do business; benefit our company and their clients.
    Serious sales people who are willing to be Professionals and are natural leaders. They lead their companies to new business.
    My Creed
    “I AM A SALES PROFESSIONAL; Notice I didn’t say consultant, advisor, representative, territory manager or case manager. I said Sales Professional. I sell in a fast paced world with ever-changing markets and varying conditions. I am very good at what I do”

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