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Impossibly Possible

Optimize Blog - January 20, 2016 - 0 comments

Google’s quirky interview questions are legendary and many on the face of it are seemingly impossible to answer. Having not been interviewed by Google we cannot attest to the validity of whether these questions are actually real but nevertheless even if they are an urban myth they are fascinating to consider.
One of our favorites was apparently asked to a potential Product Manager hire and was “You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and your mass is proportionally reduced so as to maintain your original density. You are then thrown into an empty glass blender. The blades will start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do………?”
In our business lives and leadership roles there are plenty of times when we are faced with the seemingly “impossible question” – a situation where there appears to be no obvious solution. Of course as leaders, everyone in the team is looking at us to have the answer – we’re the boss right? We’re paid to have all the answers……
All business issues have a solution no matter how difficult or unpalatable the answer or solution might be. The key for the leader is coming up with the best possible solution, communicating it properly to the team and stakeholders and then implementing the solution effectively.
Good information is required coupled with experience in interpreting the information and the willingness of course to make a decision and implement a solution without fear of recrimination if a mistake is made.
One thing is for certain – just because the issue has no obvious solution and appears impossible to answer doesn’t allow us the right to throw our hands in the air, give up and fall victim to the circumstance. The good leader is happy to seek counsel and advice from others. Experience from others who have made tough decisions in the past and a framework to help you do so is invaluable. Here is an eight step guide to help you through the process:
1. Determine the root cause of the issue – don’t treat the symptoms
2. Outline your goal and outcome – what is it that you need to achieve?
3. Gather data – enables you to make informed decisions
4. Brainstorm to develop alternatives – don’t go with your first thought, develop options
5. List pros and cons of each alternative
6. Make the decision
7. Immediately take action
8. Learn from, and reflect on the decision making – enhance your experience
Decisions are at the heart of leadership success, and at times there are critical moments when they can be difficult, perplexing, and nerve-racking. The courage to make decisions is sometimes a bit elusive. It is difficult to find the calmness to be able to make and live with those decisions.
Unlike the Google interview, the impossible question doesn’t exist in the business world. Difficult questions? Certainly, but our leadership accountability requires that we find a solution no matter how hard that might be…..

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