If you have a challenging problem to solve, approaching it in a methodical and structured way can make you more efficient and effective in your search for a solution.
Today’s post is by Mike Lynn, thoughtLEADERS Principal.
Brazilians have a Portuguese idiom that we should have in English…”Descascar o abacaxi”, which literally means “to peel a pineapple.” It’s commonly used as a way to express “to tackle a big problem.”
Too often, we get overwhelmed and daunted by tough, thorny problems put before us. Without a sharp tool and a proven approach, we see that pineapple and wonder how we will get at the fruit inside.
If desperate, we might try to messily smash it open or scrape up our hands trying (and usually failing) to peel the rough, prickly skin. Good luck. Hint one: You need something sharp. Hint two: cutting (not peeling) a pineapple requires following a precise proven pineapple paring process – a let’s call it “5P.”
Problem-solving is similar. The sharp instrument is your brain. Wise Brazilians and wise problem-solvers have to be able to take a step back from the mess and frustration of pineapple smashing or hand scraping to recognize that there has to be a better way.
If you lack this problem-solving sharpness, you’ll repeatedly end up wasting lots of time, going down bad analytical paths, spinning your wheels, “boiling the ocean.” and never getting to any solutions.
Sharpen your machete mind, and prepare to face that pineapple with the power of “5P” – five steps to problem solving.