Ask Alignor

Why shouldn’t I jump straight to solutions if I already know what to do?

Although we may be tempted to just get to the solution, there can be a danger in doing so. First, if we skip the stakeholder needs analysis, we may miss critical stakeholder needs that could yield the key to finding breakthrough solutions or reducing the need for painful trade-offs. Second, in going straight to solutions, our brainstorming of possible options may not be as thorough and targeted to needs as it would be if we had done our stakebholder interests analysis first. This often results in leaving value on the table since we may get a deal, but could have gotten a better deal if we had brainstormed more options or better calibrated our solutions to the needs they are supposed to satisfy. Third, if we skip our stakeholder needs analysis, we may not communicate our preferred solution as persuasively as we could (since we are not as organized and targeted in talking about how our proposal will satisfy the needs of other stakeholders). Finally, when a discussion or negotiation takes unanticipated turns, we may be less effective in adapting to those turns if we have not done a thorough stakeholder needs analysis. The good news is that even if you jump to solutions (or just record some early brainstorming of possible options), it is rarely too late to go back and do a stakeholder needs analysis.