How to begin to tackle the overwhelm of messy situations

Problem-solving techniques work okay-ish for situations that are easily defined, with clean boundaries and a definable problem.

Pretty much all of the non-trivial issues we face are not like that.

Whether it's a professional situation for an individual, a big change for a team, or even an intractable issue for a movement, there's one practice from systems thinking that really helps: building a rich picture.

The act of building a rich picture helps you to widen your perspective and see more of the environment your issue lives in, allowing you to see possibilities for action you've probably been missing.

In Friday's class, I shared how I begin to work both with individuals and groups when they come to me with a tough challenge.

First I introduced some useful concepts then I discussed the practical process you can use, including which actual tools make this work. Post-its, index cards, pens, whiteboards, flipcharts? From hard-won knowledge, I can tell you they all make different things possible in connection with making a rich picture.

You'll leave this class better equipped to begin helping others or yourself enquire into tough-to-define-and-solve situations. You'll have a place to start that then will branch easily into next steps.

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