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PROBLEM SOLVING Problem Solving and Doors Sometimes problems are huge undertakings requiring lots of time, planning, and resources. Other times, they are as simple as a locked door. Such was the case when I was presenting on problem solving for the first time. It was at a conference with various break–outs, including my own on The 5 Steps to Improvised Problem Solving. I was all set to give my presentation, but as I arrived a few minutes early to set up the room, I found the door was locked. Then people started showing up, accumulating in the hallway, waiting to learn about problem solving. A quick pass through the first four steps of problem solving had me running to a moderator in another break–out, informing them of the situation. They called the custodial staff to unlock the door and I went back to the hallway, now filled with attendees, and started my introduction (why waste time?). By the time I got through the equivalent of the first slide of my presentation, a custodian came and unlocked the door. We filed into the room and I resumed my presentation, joking that “I staged the whole thing to demonstrate problem solving in action.” Evaluating things later, going through the steps and maintaining a sense of humor about the whole situation led to a better real–life example than I ever could have imagined. 108

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