Difficult problems are ones where their solutions are unclear or hidden. Difficult problems are complex, which means having many parts and a lot of unknowns. They are difficult because we would have solved them before now if they were easy.
Many disagreements arise when we argue about the best way to overcome a difficult problem. We argue because we are trying to convince others to follow our opinion versus the opinions of others.
Now imagine everyone could understand how the difficult problem would impact their own goals and objectives. From there, a clear and concise story could serve as the connector to an agreement. Effective communication makes it easier to get to alignment.
I like to use these three techniques as the core of successful problem solving:
Frame the problem in a way that includes diverse viewpoints
Break down the many parts into a few grouped, manageable parts.
Incorporate active listening, including understanding everyone's worst-case scenario.
FINESSE describes the cause-and-effect relationships associated with effective communication. The seven elements of FINESSE are Frame, Illustrate, Noise reduction, Empathy, Structure, Synergy, and Ethics. As a mental model, FINESSE reminds us how effective communication in the real world works.
Problem Solving with FINESSE
As a problem-solving tool, FINESSE is the foundation of clear and structured communication. Concisely conveying the problem, its context, and the desired outcomes is crucial for effective problem solving.