Solving the problem before knowing the problem


We love solving things. 

Our best friend comes to us with a situation, we offer solutions. There is friction in the sales process, we know how to fix it. We feel sick, we take medicine.  

But here's the thing, solving the problem isn't the problem. The problem is knowing the real problem.

Diagnosing before prescribing is hard. It takes silence (something most of us aren't very good at). It takes asking more questions (when most of us would rather give answers). It takes overcoming the fear of uncertainty (aka the fear of saying 'I don't know').

Most of all, it takes practice. We have all been conditioned to immediately try to solve stuff. We are too often judged, ranked, and measured based on the number of solutions we offer rather than the number of real problems we identify. Probably because it's a lot easier to talk about features, hours worked, and time spent reviewing things and a lot more difficult to dive into the real problem.

What's the real problem? 
What's the real challenge here for you? 
What else?
What made you choose this course of action? 
What's important here for you? 
What else?