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Are the Challenges Facing Your Association a Puzzle or a Mystery?

Within the last week you have undoubtedly been faced with a problem that you had to figure out. A dilemma, a fear, or maybe what to do about a business challenge that  is staring you down.

A new way to think about problem solving is to decide if what you’re trying to solve is a puzzle or a mystery. The course of action and how you solve your problem is dramatically different depending on your answer.

The distinction between puzzles and mysteries was drawn by Gregory Treverton, a national security expert. A puzzle has a “simple, factual answer” and is solved by getting more information. A mystery is different—it has many contingencies and is solved by more analysis rather than more fact-gathering.

Most of today’s problems aren’t puzzles. Today, most of us have too much information, conflicting information, and information that may be incomplete or not factual.

For example, the number one problem you may be facing right now is how to help your association increase revenue and recover in 2021 from the loss of in-person event revenue in 2020.This is a mystery not a puzzle.

And while there are pieces of information that would help you solve this problem, they simply aren’t available. No one knows the date a vaccine will arrive, when local and state regulations will allow you to host an in-person event next year, or how to address declining professional development budgets that limit your members ability to pay membership dues or event registration fees.

Stop waiting for those puzzle pieces to be revealed. You won’t have them in time.

Restoring revenue to your organization is a mystery that CAN be solved. And the way to do this is to learn from other organizations that have solved this mystery.

When you’re ready to start planning for 2021 it’s better to channel your inner Sherlock Holmes and solve the mystery of what’s next by using all of the information available and getting the best advice you can get to solve this problem.

We work with many of the best non-profits and have solved the mystery of what’s next. If you’d like to know how we’re doing it I hope you’ll contact me.

A problem well defined is half solved.

Don Neal

Founder & CEO

360 Live Media

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