Sometimes Guessing Is a Strategy!

My latest efforts on Sudoku are almost always on the more challenging puzzles — the ones labeled “Very Difficult.” I like it best when I am able to work the puzzle without putting in little numbers, no matter how long it takes.

Sometimes I can’t go beyond knowing that two squares should contain either one of two numbers, say “4″ and “5.” Rather than write (or click) a tiny “4″ and a tiny “5″ in each square, I make a guess. Right away, I know. I’ve either made the right choice, or I know what the right choice is.

Sometimes the choice is among three numbers, in which case the solution might require two guesses instead of just one. Or it’s two blank squares, either one of which could be, let’s say, a “9.” If I guess the wrong one, then it’s an easy job to erase or delete the mistake and make the correct choice.

At work, it’s not quite that easy. You certainly can’t “delete” a mistake. But a leader can know, by watching, asking questions, and seeking feedback from others, what one or two, or perhaps even three, types of tasks an employee might have a knack for. The leader can then “guess” that the employee would do well in a certain position, and put him or her there. It won’t be immediately clear, as it is in the game, whether it’s the right choice or not, but it won’t take long to know.

And then, it’s either a success to celebrate, or a mistake to rectify. Doing either one will move your team or organization closer to its ideal working condition.

Go ahead … give it your best guess and see what happens!

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