Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Solving association problems may mean stepping back.

The screen makes the "up close" view fuzzy; stepping back clears your view.
Have you ever faced a major issue in your association and realized that the more you focus on it the less focused it becomes?

I thought about this the other day when I was looking through the lanai (a screened-in cage) to see the golf balls across the lake.

I stepped forward to try to get a better view of the balls ... and realized that the closer I got to the screen, the less I could see. This photo shows a bit of the dilemma of the closer I got the fuzzier the view.

Stepping back gives you a better view so you can "line up" your putt.
I realized then that the same phenomena happens on the golf course. When you are “lining up your putt,” the closer you get, the harder it is to see. Camilo Villegas, a pro golfer, has an unusual posture on the green as he tries to determine the line.

When it comes to association problem solving, Chip Heath and Dan Heath refer to this as the curse of knowledge. Robin Hogarth defined the curse of knowledge as a cognitive bias according to which better-informed people find it extremely difficult to think about problems from the perspective of lesser-informed people

We often face a similar issue when our associations face problems ... the closer we get, the harder it is to see.

Here are 4 steps to solve your fuzzy-focused solutions:

  1. Let it rest ... put the project aside for a few hours or even days. Let you ideas “jell” and then return to see if the solutions look better. 
  2. Get an outsider’s opinion. Visit with someone totally outside your association’s sphere .... share the problem and potential solutions with them. 
  3. Try the tapper and listener exercise outlined in the Heath’s piece ... the distraction might help you refocus when you return to the issue. 
  4. State the problem and proposed solutions in concrete (rather than abstract) language.

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