What’s Your Problem?

“It’s only a problem if you have a solution.” – Up in the Air (2009 film)

Looks like someone's solution was to remove the source of their problem

SQLCruise Alaska 2011 might be over, but the learning continues. I came away with lots to consider as well as some homework from two things in particular:

  • Outstanding sessions on professional development delivered by Buck Woody (Blog|Twitter)
  • A highly interactive discussion on branding conducted by Brent Ozar (Blog|Twitter)

I light of this, I’ve been revisiting reviews and comments on my workplace performance and behavior. Multiple times there are mentions of never seeing me rattled, shaken, upset, etc. during stressful situations. I’ve even been called a “calming influence.” This is funny considering that I don’t feel calm at these times. It also makes me wonder if this is always a good trait.

Thus, responding to such comments can be difficult. So I might try to laugh it off by saying something about my ability to hide stress. But a few times I’ve said something to the effect that, when presented with a problem, I just manipulate it into a form that works for me. This reply has been followed by discussions of whether this is always possible or jokes regarding there is no spoon.

Which is interesting, because with a visit to Wikipedia you’ll read that a component of problem solving is problem shaping. Much of what is required for problem solving involves creative processes.

I try to stimulate my creativity by reading non-technical books (science fiction, history and so forth). I even consider this to be part of my professional development. However, I’ve been wondering lately if reading is sufficient… what additional activities would expand my creativity?

In the mean time, I’m going to try to be more aware of what I do when engaged in problem solving activities, especially at the beginning of the problem solving process. It will be interesting to operate at a meta-level. I hope this exposes some weaknesses and strengths, plus it could reveal how I might be more helpful while working with others in problem solving situations.

About Noel McKinney

Noel McKinney is the administrator of noelmckinney.com
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