What It Means to be a Next-Level Problem Solver

Dec 20, 2016 | Executive Coaching Blogs

“Life, just like a design problem, is full of constraints – time, money, age, location, and circumstances. You can’t have everything, so you have to be creative to make what you want and what you need co-exist. This requires thinking differently, like a designer. Designers believe they can solve any problem and come up with a better solution. This optimism drives our creative energy.”

This is from designer Ayse Birse in an article about designing your life and achieving any goal. You too can be can be a designer who solves any problem — in other words a next-level problem solver that believes in a world of possibilities, solutions, and goodness in the world.


What I call a next-level problem solver combines technical skills and leadership skills in order to:

  • recognize the constraints,
  • think differently,
  • understand that conflicting ideas can all be true
  • be optimistic with a smidge of healthy paranoia and pragmatism
  • work hard and smart
  • create relentless focus
  • take radical responsibility for the results

Too many people rely on just their technical knowledge in order to solve a problem. Others may rely only on leadership skills. When you combine both, the list above becomes possible. And the world of new results reveal itself.