Are you solving the wrong problem?

If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail. Abraham  Maslow 1908 – 1970 When we’re faced with a problem, the first thing we need to do is get totally clear about the issue we’re trying to solve. But at times, this task isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. Consider the interesting example of the mathematician Abraham Wald and the British Air Ministry. During World War II, the British Air Ministry engaged Mr. Wald to study the damage suffered by airplanes engaged in combat missions and use those results to recommend appropriate places for …
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Seeing only validation

Editor’s Note: While this lesson was originally published in December 2008, we feel it is still both relevant and appropriate today. People only see what they are prepared to see. Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803 – 1852 The recent presidential election in the United States was the most sharply divided on ideology that I can remember. It was relatively easy to find supporters and opponents who witnessed the same message from a candidate, yet came to totally different conclusions about the meaning and future impact of the message. Both saw only validation of the beliefs they had already formed. Now, this behavior …
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Get better at solving problems

It is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail. Abraham Harold Maslow 1908 – 1970 From time to time, everyone has problems. No matter how successful you think someone is, they still encounter setbacks. Most people take a somewhat limited approach to solving problems, and consequently, they don’t always get the best results. I’d like to share a better approach with you. But to make the lesson stick, I want you to participate in a small experiment. I want you to stop reading for 30 seconds, get a …
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