How to Skip Your Biggest Problem
(And Still See Results)

Skip It

Often, when confronted by problems, we have a tendency to work the problem. Then work it some more. And, from there, work it even more.

But does working, reworking and working at it harder uncover a solution? Often, the answer is no.

Instead, I like to recommend an alternative that may seem a bit outlandish to some, but is a remarkably effective strategy:

Take your biggest problem and skip It.

For many people unfamiliar with the extraordinary results you can achieve when employing Problem Skipping, failing to address a problem directly seems nothing more than avoidance. To their way of thinking, you’re not really doing anything to arrive at a solution. Instead, you’re burying your head in the sand.

That’s not the case in the least. For one thing, consider the results–if you have gone at a problem over and over, don’t you think you would have solved it by now? For another, Problem Skipping is exceedingly effective in addressing a core issue that’s inherent with may problems. Whatever you’re trying to solve may not be the real problem at all.

Instead, it’s important to peel the onion back a bit, layer by layer if need be, to identify the real problem.

The “Bug Bounty”

Here’s an anecdote that shows two distinctly different types of Problem Skipping—one, burrowing down to identify the actual problem and, two, skipping the problem completely.

In 2015, United Airlines had to ground a number of flights as a result of computer glitches. The problem highlighted the concern the carrier had about its computer network’s vulnerability to hackers.

United actually used problem skipping in two different places. First, was the “real” problem the number of planes that had to remain on the ground? No, it was actually the underlying technology and, from there, the possibility that a skilled hacker would be able to break through and paralyze a large portion of its fleet.

The second example of United’s Problem Skipping had to do with steps the carrier took to identify soft points in its technology. The initial problem was the substantial funding needed to carry out extensive security research.  Instead, United skipped the problem by challenging real life hackers to try to flag problems before a more malicious hacker did the real thing.

Problems skipped and solved. Not only did hackers identify several cyber weak points, they were rewarded with frequent flyer miles—a so-called “bug bounty” that skipped over the problem of having to lay out piles of cash for security review.

One particularly astute hacker–a 19-year-old security researcher from Amsterdam–was awarded with a million air miles!

Chemotherapy Side Effects? Skip It!

Even those who have never had to deal with cancer are well aware of the horrific side effects of conventional chemotherapy—hair loss, nausea, among others. At first glance, the apparent problem would be ways to mitigate those dreadful side effects from the treatment.

Dr. Vijay Chudasama has a much better solution: Skip It.

A researcher at University College London, Dr. Chudasama is working on an alternate procedurethat he believes will eventually eliminate the need for chemotherapy completely. Rather than a chemotherapy “cocktail” that attacks both healthy and cancerous tissue, Dr. Chudasama’s method leverages antibodies that can distinguish between healthy and diseased tissue—and, in turn, making the problematic side effects of chemotherapy treatment moot.

The Need to Unravel a Mindset

For many, the biggest challenge of Problem Skipping is the shift in attitude. In brief, to their way of thinking, how can you solve a problem when Problem Skipping is simply avoiding the problem altogether?

This isn’t a question of disregarding significant problems or barriers. Rather, it’s just a different and more effective way of approaching them, a sort of conceptual and attitudinal shift that sheds fresh light, often showing that our “required” actions can actually be skipped altogether to get to the same, or better, result with much greater speed.

To that end, when confronting a problem, ask yourself: What’s the worst possible thing that could happen if, in fact, you chose to use Problem Skipping? And, by the same token, think about the consequences of merely staying the course and trying over and over to solve a problem that doesn’t seem to have a solution.

Give problem skipping a try. You may be pleasantly surprised at how much closer it can bring you to a solution and how quickly.

Watch the Reaction

Watch the reaction to Daniel Burrus’ Recent Keynote presentation.

Daniel Burrus has over three decades of being right about where things are going, which is evidenced by his long and diverse list of repeat clients. Daniel has worked with leaders from Fortune 500 companies, the Pentagon, and heads of State-delivering powerful insights and actionable strategies.

A ‘must-hear’ presentation.

Steven A. Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft

Your thoughts on how to create an opportunity for change through a customer focus is the excellence our team is striving for. The framework you provided on innovation, creativity and customer value will be instituted as a management practiceto enable the technology infrastructure group to take Wells Fargo to the next stage.

Victor Nichols, Wells Fargo

By applying Daniel Burrus’ principles to our business, in less than a year we have been able to double our revenues and increase the value of our company by a factor of four, and we feel the biggest impact is yet to come.

Arni Bellini, CEO, ConnectWise

Recent Work

Recent Work

When IBM launched IBM Global Business Services with their top 40 industry experts to plan a game‑changing future for IBM, the only outside resource they used was Daniel Burrus. (The meeting was a great success, and he has continued to work with IBM).

When Vodafone launched its Global Mobile Enterprise service to Fortune 200 companies, they chose Daniel Burrus to deliver the message to C-level Executives in multiple national events.

When Deloitte gathered leaders from China and SE Asia for a major forecasting event, they chose Daniel Burrus. (Based on the success of that event, Deloitte has changed their industry-forecasting model to incorporate Burrus’ Hard-Trend methodology.

A Master at Tailoring Presentations

A master at tailoring his presentations to the specific needs of your audience, Daniel is a futurist keynote speaker who identifies game-changing trends and strategies to help you:

  • Empower audiences to take positive action.
  • Separate the Hard Trends that will happen from the Soft Trends than might happen
  • Learn which current and emerging technologies will have the biggest impact on your industry.
  • Learn how to creatively apply these technologies to create strategic value and competitive advantage.
  • Anticipate Disruptions, Problems, Customer Needs and New Opportunities
  • Learn how to leverage the skills and talents within your organization in new ways.
  • Learn how to use new tools to change the rules of your industry with honesty and integrity.
  • Learn powerful personal strategies for shaping your future.
Daniel Burrus’ Speaking Accolades

Daniel Burrus’ Accolades

  • The New York Times named Daniel as one of the top three gurus in the highest demand as a speaker.
  • One of the Top 21 Speakers For the 21st Century by Successful Meetings Magazine.
  • He has been voted by his peers and clients as one of the Top Five Futurists and Technology Speakers every year since the award program started.
  • A member of the Professional Speakers Hall of Fame.
  • He has delivered over 2,700 keynote speeches on six continents to audiences from 25 to 12,000.