Where is the problem?

This weekend we met a friend who is a freelance musician. We talked about a lot of things but especially about practice and developing yourself and your skills. When she is practicing for a new piece she will usually find one or more places that are hard to play, that she will need to practice over and over again to get right. Some of them, though, takes a lot longer to learn, and it is usually not because that part of the piece is difficult. But that the part right before or right after makes it difficult. By focusing on the piece she never gets it right, it is by expanding her focus and practicing what comes before or after that she solves the problem.

I loved this analogy because it is a reflection of the problems we face at work as well.

  • If you are having problems now in a project, it is often due to what happened before or because of decisions made outside the project.
  • When you are trying to solve problems in a process, it is often caused by what is happening before or after the step.
  • All problems within a team can not be solved just by focusing on the team; you also need to look at the team’s context.

When you want to solve problems together, you need to give people

  • Information about the context of the problem and not just the problem itself.
  • Time to prepare, so they can process all the information before meeting.


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