“Start by curling the tips of your fingers into your palm, then wrapping your thumb around the first knuckle of your ring finger.”

Leadership is often about using the right tools at the right time for the right purpose. When you first encounter a problem, take a look at the bigger picture and ultimate goal. Every problem is merely an obstacle to your goal. Reframe the problem and make sure you clearly understand the issue. Give it a name and make it known that you recognize there is a problem and you are working towards an issue. Then work towards finding the right tool.

“Stand squarely facing your target, then drop the foot on your dominant side back and out to an angle between 30 and 45 degrees. You should keep your feet a comfortable distance apart with your hips turned slightly away from the target.”

Do your best to focus on one problem at a time. I know that trouble often doesn’t come in single file lines, but do your best to attack each problem separately and with your full attention. Focus in and listen actively to what your stakeholders are telling you. Gather all the information and data that you can about the problem.

“Keep your shoulders turned well away from your opponent, your forearms should stay nearly vertical, with your elbows tucked into your body.”

Keep your entire office/team aware of the immediate problem at hand but don’t let it derail your entire week. Keep time on your calendar for pop-up fires, and be sure to keep the end goal in mind. Remember, this is just one little obstacle to your main goal.

“When you start the punch, pivot your back foot on its ball and push your body straight forward, turn your hips and extend your arm straight toward the target.

You want to strike with the first two knuckles.”

Come up with a problem-solving strategy, make sure you are addressing every part of the problem. Take control of the problem at the roots. Strike hard at the cause, but make sure you have allies (change activists) on your side to argue the case when you’re not there. Commit wholeheartedly to your problem-solving strategy.

“As soon as your punch reaches the end of its journey, you want to bring it immediately back toward your face for defense, whether your original punch landed or not. As your hand comes back, reset the rest of your body as well.”

Just because you tackle one problem at a time, doesn’t mean you just have one problem. Be sure to keep the overall picture and end-goal in mind as you demolish obstacles. Keep your team alert for potential obstacles that may arise in the future.

A BIG thank you to Stan Horaczek for teaching me “How to Throw a Punch” at https://www.popsci.com/throw-punch#page-7