Command Leadership: Framing the Problem

Leadership Command: Framing the Problem

Few organizations prepare its members for leadership command as well as the Marines. Their training pushes people to the max, forcing them to discover their potential.  Then suddenly the training backs off only to begin pushing in another area of development. CommandReady focuses on sharing key leadership skills with individuals motivated to excel in leadership command. Today’s article focuses on identifying, or framing a problem.  Why? Because you can’t lead or command until you determine the right actions.  You cannot set goals effectively until you know what problem you must solve. By identifying the problem, you define it, making it easier to explain the issue and your ideas to your team.

Leadership Command: framing the problem.
Leadership Command: Framing the Problem

Steps to Clearer Problem Framing

  • What’s Important?
  • What is your guidance?
  • What do you want your team to work towards?  What is the end result or state you want to achieve?
  • Your Role in Solving Problems

Taking time to frame the problem feels wasteful to busy leaders, but even a genius like Albert Einstein knew it was the most important part of the solution. 

Albert Einstein on framing the problem.

“If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.”

-Albert Einstein

Your role as leadership command is to be involved in and committed to the problem defining process.

Your Role in Leadership Command

I will say that once again: Your role as leadership command is to help define the problem.  You then  guide your team to understanding what problem needs to be solved. And Finally, your team needs to be actively involved in solving that problem.

Unfortunately, we often think about management and decision-making wrong.  We take a broad base of information from the ground and filter it up to the leader to act upon it. Historically, extraordinarily little action at the top is triggered in this way, so invert that process.  In your leadership role, put yourself at the bottom, getting information to your team.  Now multiple people can make decisions and work toward action.

Remember, your most important contribution toward the solution, is to define what the problem is.  Your next most important contribution  should be toward your team. You, like most of us, made the most progress when you learned by experience.  Allow your team to also grow by doing, by determining the best lines of problem solving effort.  If you spoon feed solutions to your team, they will be cheated of gaining that experience.  You defined the challenge; now trust them enough to find solutions to it. 

SWOT Analysis Helpful to Problem Framing

As with every step, instilling an SOP for your own personal guidance, will keep you on track.  When framing a problem, it is helpful to us a SWOT analysis process.  This is an informational gathering analysis tool for any problem you face.

S. Examine the Strengths of the problem. 
W. What are the Weakneses of the problem?
O. Visualize the Opportunities you could take.
T. What might be a Threat?

This ideas are part of the training CommandReady makes available to those who are struggling to reach their potential in command leadership.  Experience on the job has yielded skill sets in the work, but command leadership training is as vital to your success. Every module has pro tips that helps you see your situation in a whole new way.  If you want to learn more about framing the problem, get Forged in 84 or The Leadership Core here.