Take Five Minutes - Stuck? Analyse your issue with the GROW model

The GROW model is a framework that helps you take a methodical approach to problem solving. It helps you double-check that you have indeed left none of the proverbial stones unturned.

What is "Take Five Minutes"?


In this series I want to encourage you to take just five minutes out of your busy day to set yourself up for bigger, better success.

People wonder how they can make their dreams come true: very often, it's a matter of working out a way of making a small dent in a big ambition, putting the right systems in place, and making sure that it's easy for these systems to work.

I will share my own systems, so that you can test them and see whether they work for you.

If you want to share a five-minute system with my readers or indeed give me feedback on how this is working for you, tweet me @SusanHayes_

Remember, it only takes five minutes, right now, to change the course of history - your history at least!


Problem solving

Stuck? Analyse your issue with the GROW model


If you're stuck on a problem and you don't know how to solve it, use the GROW model. Sometimes an issue proves to be so thorny you can't see a way out. How are you ever going to do X? How can you possibly manage Y without Z? Will you just have to give up? The GROW model is a framework that helps you take a methodical approach to problem solving. It helps you double-check that you have indeed left none of the proverbial stones unturned.

GROW stands for Goals, Realities, Opportunities, What can I do now (taking action)


Become more resourceful with the GROW model 


The GROW model has many, many benefits. Not only will it move you closer to your goals, it will help you:

  • Practice resourcefulness. That's the greatest benefit - I have noticed in myself how much more resourceful I am after constantly using the model. Gain the clarity to see that you're not in this alone, and that can find all the help and resources you need.
  • Stop worrying uselessly and start truly tackling the problem, instead of running around in circles.
  • Pull up your sleeves and take a proactive view of problems
  • Learn to trust your self-reliance and gain confidence
  • Practice the problem-solving mindset
  • Feel more in control when you feel paralysed because there are a thousand directions you could go, or when you're down


How to use the GROW model in practice


To put your problem through the GROW model, follow these steps:


1. State your Goal: the problem you want to solve, and how you want to solve it.

Ensure the goal is positive and SMART. State your goal in a positive way, by saying what you want. Avoid stating your goal in a negative way, by saying what you want to avoid or stop. For example, "I want visibility on three months' cashflow at all times" instead of "I want to stop worrying about money".


2. State your Realities: face the obstacles that are in your way, the constraints you have to take into account, and make a master list of all of them.

They will help you reframe your goal: they're not a signal to give up, but to adapt your goal to your specific set of circumstances. You're working out a compromise, an arrangement with your constraints. You might have to revise your timeline or to rewrite your goal, but you will see that you have more leeway for action than you thought, once you acknowledge your Realities.


3. State your Opportunities: what assets and opportunities do you have, who are your allies?

Now that you know you have to contend with A, B and C, how will you tackle each one in turn? Who can help you overcome the specific set of Realities you've just outlined? That's when you will see how useful it is to really explore your Realities and constraints - each one will be a micro-project in itself, each one will require its own solution. Once you've solved each mini-problem, suddenly you have a list of action steps to reach your goal!


4. Ask "What can I do now?"

Each constraint has suggested a way to solve it. Each opportunity has suggested a remedy to overcome each Reality. Now you have a list of action steps to reach your goal. Take action and work your way to your goal.


Related: 11 Steps to create your own opportunities


"If I'm stuck, it's because I don't know how to solve the problem - otherwise I'd have done it already! Or it might be because I'm lacking resources. How can a brainstorm solve the problem? It will not give me the resources or the knowledge I don't have!"


That's exactly why you need the GROW model:

1. It puts you back in the driver's seat. Leave that feeling of defeat or overwhelm behind.

2. Our brains are problem-solving machines: when you consciously tell your brain to focus on a problem, it will dig up resources to do that - instead of that low-level constant worry of "this isn't working and I'm stuck..." There's a difference between focusing on a problem to say "Ok, there HAS to be a way somewhere," and letting something fester at the back of your mind.

3. To activate "reticular activity" in your brain: by labelling precisely what kind of solution you're looking for, where your realities / obstacles and opportunities are, you will suddenly become aware of more and more useful opportunities out there. I'm sure you've experienced this: if someone books a holiday to Spain, suddenly it's as if everybody they meet are just back from Malaga or visiting their eldest child who is studying in Madrid! It's not that people are waiting in the wings to suddenly volunteer references to Spain - it's just that we notice things far more easily when they're at the core of our focus. Spain is on your mind - and so you notice mentions of Spain that you wouldn't have otherwise. By concentrating on solving your problem with the GROW model and taking it through this methodical, step-by-step framework, you have primed your attention to notice the resources around you.


If you take a proactive, head-on, hands-on approach, you can work through any issue or, at the very least, make some progress. What seemed impossible will start to feel more and more possible if you ask for help, pinpoint the knowledge and skills you need to learn, and generally break down an insurmountable issue or impossible path into its component parts. Divide and conquer!

I'd love to hear your feedback by email email or on twitterTwitter

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