“Are your lights on?”
By | Sridhar Ramanathan
In my work as a facilitator, my first task is to help the client tell me what is the problem he is grappling with. It is not as simple as it sounds.
Let me give you an example. A client wanted me to facilitate a workshop for his team. His challenge was that consumers tried his product but did not come back for repurchase. He ‘thought’ it was a loyalty issue. They were more loyal to his competitor’s brand. So he wanted ideas for building loyalty.
“What else could be the reason?” I asked and we started exploring the issue. We had to discontinue the meeting because he had a meeting with his MD.
I came back home and started browsing through my bookshelf. And found a book called “Are your lights on?” – How to Figure Out What The Problem Really Is?” by Donald C. Gause and Gerald M. Weinberg.
The preface to the book grabbed my attention.
PROBLEM: Nobody reads prefaces.
SOLUTION: Call the preface Chapter 1.
NEW PROBLEM CREATED BY SOLUTION: Chapter 1 is boring.
RESOLUTION: Throw away Chapter 1 and call Chapter 2 Chapter 1.
That is it! That is the preface to the book.