The trick to finding the right solution? Sometimes, it's changing the problem.

You may not have considered underlying issues

When you've tried addressing a problem multiple ways, but nothing seems to help, the issue may be that you're focused on the wrong problem entirely, leadership consultant Peter Bregman writes in Harvard Business Review.

"If you've tried to solve a problem with every solution you can think of, your challenge isn't finding a better solution. It's finding a better problem," he says.

Take a step back and try to look at the situation from the outside, Bregman suggests. What else may be causing the less-than-stellar results?

For example, if you're having trouble accomplishing goals and have tried motivating yourself multiple ways with no results—instead consider the possibility that follow-through is the issue, not lack of initial motivation.

"A motivation problem is solved by thinking ... A follow-through problem is solved by not thinking (don't deliberate, just act)," he writes.

As another example, if an employee refuses to take accountability, try approaching the issue with a new lens. Perhaps the employee may not have the skills to tackle the task, expectations are unclear, or there is no way to objectively measure progress. Simply offering training or improving communication may fix the issue, he says.

Redefining problems "frees you to experiment with 'beginner's mind.' You get to start over, trying different solutions, assessing their effectiveness, learning from failures, and trying again," he writes (Bregman, Harvard Business Review, 12/7).

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