Great Thinker

Questions for Creative Business Problem Solving


By: Brian Tracy

Brian is one of Americaís leading authorities on the development of the human potential. He is the best selling author of 23 books, has trained 2 million people in 23 countries and his clients include IBM, Verizon Wireless, Bank of America and thousands of people just like you.



  1. Clarify Your Desired Result. Question #1 "What are we trying to do?" Whenever you become frustrated with slow progress for any reason, step back and ask this again and again, "What are we trying to do?"

  2. Analyze Your Current Methods. Question #2 "How are we trying to do it?" If you are experiencing resistance, perhaps your method is wrong. Be willing to objectively analyze your approach by asking, "How are we trying to do it?" Is this the right way? Could there be a better way? What if our method was completely wrong? How else could we approach it?

Problem Solving Strategies: 4 Levels


  1. Could You Be Wrong? It requires courage to face the possibility that you may be wrong but it also leads to your seeing new possibilities. The rule is: Always decide what's right before worrying about who's right.

  2. Question Your Assumptions. Another good question is, "What are our assumptions? About the person, the product, the market, the business? What are our assumptions? Could we be assuming something that is incorrect?" Someone once said that "Errant assumptions lie at the root of every failure". What if your unspoken or implied assumptions were wrong? What would you have to do differently?

Creative Problem Solving: Reframing

  1. Put Past Decisions On Trial. Another form of focused questioning is what I call "Zero based thinking." This method requires that you put every past decision on trial for its life regularly by asking, "If I had not made this decision, knowing what I now know, would I make it?" If I had not hired this person or gotten involved in this project, knowing what I now know, would I do it over again?

If the answer is "NO" to one of these questions, then your aim should be to get out of the decision as fast as possible. Be willing to "cut your losses," and try something else.

Great Problem Solver (problem solving techniques, PowerPoint download)