Four Ways to Get a New Perspective on an Old Problem

In the B2B publishing world, creative teams can often get stuck during the problem-solving process. Rather than spinning around and around on the same issue, they can leverage some best practices to work toward a workable solution. 

During their interactive presentation at the ASBPE national conference in Cleveland, Marnette Falley and Portia Stewart inspired B2B media professionals to maximize the effectiveness of their creative brainstorming sessions. Falley, a leadership coach for SunRoad Coaching and Consulting, and Portia Stewart, a creative consultant for Mind Full Creatives, are both B2B publishing veterans in the Kansas City area. 

Falley and Stewart speaking at 2022 conference

“Some of us get stuck in a fixed mindset and have to move to a growth mindset,” Stewart says. 

Here are their four ways to get a new perspective on an old problem. 

Tool #1: Perform a Question Burst.

Questions have a way of unlocking our brains. Ask questions instead of answering them to get to a better question. 

For example, team members can start with a question, and then they can write down other related questions. At the end, they can review all the questions and then revise the original question. During the session, the attendees focused on posing questions revolving around the issue of being overwhelmed by a heavy workload. The participants suggested questions such as:

  • How much staff and resources do you have? 
  • What are you spending the most time on? 
  • What tasks are redundant, and what can be cut? 
  • What can you delegate? 
  • What is at stake if you don’t change?

Stewart writing on a flipchart

Tool #2: Make Disagreement More Like Algebra with Two Truths.

Validate the other person’s perspective by asking open-ended questions to understand and apply their point of view. Note your perspective and theirs – you may find common ground or use differences in perspective to shape your approach and solution. It’s entirely possible that this could help you see the problem differently. 

Tool #3: Loosen the Knot By Asking, “What if?” 

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What if your problems are 25 times bigger and completely unsolvable? 
  • What if your favorite brand bought you, and you ran your business? 
  • What if you had to stop printing and still serve the audience?
  • What if you stopped sending enewsletters with no ads and then grew on LinkedIn?
  • What if you no longer do 10 Facebook posts a day? What would happen?  

Tool #4: Make Difficult Interpretations.

By observing, interpreting and intervening, creative teams can see things differently with a challenging diagnosis. 

“You need to ask yourself what you are doing to take part in the mess,” Falley explained. “By seeing through the pain, you can see the problem in a different way and become a stronger leader.”

SunRoad Coaching and Consulting and Mind Full Creatives were Silver Sponsors of the 2022 ASBPE National Conference. Check out this printable worksheet of the brainstorming tools shared during Marnette & Portia’s session, and share it with your colleagues. Interested in more information about SunRoad Coaching and Consulting or Mind Full Creatives

ASBPE plans to feature more great educational sessions at its 2023 National Conference, which will take place May 11-12, 2023. The location is to be announced. Stay tuned to and ASBPE’s social channels to keep up to date. 

Amy Fischbach

Amy Fischbach is the field editor for the Electric Utility Operations section of Transmission & Distribution World magazine, an Endeavor Business Media publication. She writes and records the monthly “Line Life” podcasts for T&D World and Utility Products, manages the monthly field-focused EUO section and works on special supplements on vegetation management and linemen.

Fischbach currently serves as the immediate past president of the ASBPE Educational Foundation.

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