Author: Dr. Ajit Varwandkar

Recently I went through a phase of disturbed physical health. It was all about irritable bowel syndrome. It was becoming really unbearable for me to manage my daily routine, with this issue irritating me like hell. I did almost everything to get the cure. I tried allopathy as well as homoeopathy medicines. I even had ayurvedic treatment. However, none of the medications gave me relief for some mysterious reasons.  

When nothing seemed to show the result, my physician said something which not many of those might tell. He asked me to stop all medicines for a few days. I did strictly as was advised to me. Surprisingly, the magic happened, and my problem started getting mitigated. Without any medication, I was almost back to normal in a few days. 

Friends, sharing the above experience is not to challenge the science of medicine. My point of view is to look at very unique learning from this episode. I would name this learning as “stop solution hunting”. 

Yes, most of the time, we are obsessed with the idea of ‘problem-solving. We get so much involved in the problem’s nuances that the simplest solution becomes invisible. Especially in the management world, the moment a “problem” is defined, all eyes search for solutions. Out of box thinking, aligned thought process, root cause analysis, five why and many more such tools are frantically applied by experts to arrive at some feasible solution. 

My experience says that, in the enthusiasm to hunt for the best solution, people often miss out on the easy way out. You must have read the story of the first pilot in outer space Yuri Gagarin. Those were the days when ink pens were in predominant use ( probably ball pens or gel pens were not invented). The scientists were working hard to find the solution to a problem. The problem was, in the absence of gravity in space, how would the ink pen work? And if the pen doesn’t work, how would the astronaut take notes? When a lot of research and study went in vain, someone suggested using pencils instead of ink pens! Led based pencil was such an easy solution, Wasn’t it? But people’s attention was towards complicating the problem by over synthesizing it!

Someone wisely said, if you want to simplify a situation – just remove complexities! That works wonders. On the contrary, most of us add more complexity to the existing problem with the hope of simplifying it!

A soap manufacturing unit was facing a typical problem in its assembly line. At the stage of final packing of soap units into big boxes, one out of thousand packs was reported to be empty. It contained the soap packaging and the cover, but no soap inside! In this case, the issue was credibility. The integrity of the manufacturer was being questioned by the channel partners. 

The CEO asked all its top management to find a zero-error solution to this problem. Four special-purpose task force units were formed, and the action began. Every team assessed the situation and made proposals to solve the problem. It took a few weeks and a lot of time and money investment to arrive at two solution options. The CEO refused to agree to either of those two because the investment asked for was over budget.

That’s when the CEO’s son, a school student, came up with an idea. He said, “why not we place a high-speed table fan across the packaging belt! With the force of air, if there is an empty pack, it will jump away!”

This is why I suggest people ‘stop solution hunting’ and do not over involve in understanding the problem. A better idea is to shift your focus to something different. Simplify the situation, and the solution will evolve in most cases. Experiment it. 

Do contact me in case you have any career queries.

Dr. Ajit Varwandkar is the Director of He is a leading career counsellor and can be contacted on 9826132972 or email him at

This column was originally published by the author in The Times of India