Monthly Archives: July 2014

If you can’t solve the problem

Once upon a time I worked as a contractor. On one of my gigs, my supervisor had worked for the same company for 30 years! He was quite wise and had many great theories about work and problem solving. One of my favorite quotes of his was “If you can’t solve the problem, change the problem.” I have carried this quote with me for years since, and found it extremely useful to apply throughout my career.

Ever get stuck with a problem you can’t solve? Try changing the problem and/or looking at the problem from a different point of view and chances are you will quickly come up with a solution.

For example, when customizing the job application, many of our customers think that their specific question or circumstance can’t be handled by our custom question type options. However, we are yet to find a question that cannot be slightly modified to fit one of the custom question types. One specific example that comes to mind is a paper job application that asked “Check here if you are 18 years old or older.” This question did not fit the mold of our predefined question types, but with a little tweaking, the question became “Are you 18 years old or older?” with a yes/no drop-down.

No matter the problem, there is a way to solve it, but solving it may take changing the way you are looking at the problem. Another quick piece of advice is to state the problem differently. Maybe stating the problem using different words will be simple enough of an approach to quickly help you figure things out.