What are some product development problems that a cheque book can’t solve?


How to Solve Human Problems: A Guide for Leaders


In today’s fast-paced world, leaders often find themselves seeking quick fixes to complex human problems. However, certain issues cannot be resolved with money alone. Problems like lack of direction, decision-making, purpose, and power require a deeper, more human approach. This blog post explores these challenges and offers practical advice on nurturing and supporting your teams to foster richer relationships and a more productive work environment.

The Limits of Money

Problems Money Can’t Solve

While a cheque book can address many logistical and financial issues, it falls short in solving core human problems:

  • Lack of Direction
  • Lack of Decision
  • Lack of Purpose
  • Lack of Power

These challenges require more than just financial resources; they demand a demonstration of your personal principles and values.

The Essence of Humanity

When faced with challenges that require human touch and empathy, money alone is insufficient. Instead, leaders must focus on:

  • Defining Constraints: Clearly outline what can and cannot be done within the team.
  • Encouraging and Supporting: Offer continuous encouragement and support to your team members.
  • Nurturing: Create an environment where team members feel safe and valued.

Building Relationships

Beyond Transactions

A cheque book won’t help in establishing deeper relationships with peers, teams, and customers. Instead, it’s essential to invest time and effort into:

  • Understanding Needs: Take the time to understand the unique needs and motivations of your team members.
  • Demonstrating Values: Show your commitment to your principles and values through your actions.

Importance of Kindness

As the saying goes, “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.” Kindness and empathy play crucial roles in building trust and fostering a positive work environment.

Practical Steps to Inspire Your Team

Personal Touch vs. Automated Responses

You can’t simply go into ChatGPT and say, “Inspire my team,” and expect anything other than a formulaic response. True inspiration comes from personal interaction and understanding. Here are some practical steps to take:

1. Communicate Openly

  • Regular Check-Ins: Schedule regular one-on-one meetings with your team members to discuss their progress and any challenges they face.
  • Active Listening: Pay close attention to what your team members are saying and show that you value their input.

2. Set Clear Goals

  • Define Objectives: Clearly outline the goals and objectives for the team.
  • Align Goals: Ensure that each team member’s personal goals align with the overall team objectives.

3. Provide Support

  • Offer Resources: Provide the necessary resources and tools for your team to succeed.
  • Be Available: Make yourself available for guidance and support whenever your team needs it.

4. Foster a Positive Environment

  • Encourage Collaboration: Promote a culture of collaboration and teamwork.
  • Celebrate Successes: Recognize and celebrate the achievements of your team members.

Personal Experiences

Learning from My Journey

Throughout my career, I have encountered numerous situations where money could not solve the problem. Here are some personal examples:

Example 1: Lack of Direction

I once led a project where the team was struggling with a lack of direction. Despite having ample funding, the team was floundering. It wasn’t until we sat down together to define our goals and establish clear objectives that we started making progress. This experience taught me the importance of setting a clear direction for your team.

Example 2: Building Relationships

In another instance, I was working with a client who was initially very reserved. No amount of financial incentives could break the ice. It was only through consistent effort to understand their needs and demonstrating genuine care that we were able to build a strong working relationship. This highlighted the significance of investing time in building personal connections.

Recommendations for Leaders

Embrace Your Role

As a leader, your role goes beyond managing tasks and budgets. You are responsible for guiding, inspiring, and supporting your team. Here are some recommendations:

  • Be Present: Show up for your team, not just physically but emotionally and mentally.
  • Lead by Example: Demonstrate the values and principles you want to see in your team.
  • Invest in Relationships: Take the time to build genuine relationships with your team members.

Use Technology Wisely

While tools like ChatGPT can assist with certain tasks, they cannot replace the human touch. Use technology to enhance, not replace, your personal interactions.


Solving human problems requires more than just financial resources. It demands empathy, understanding, and a commitment to your values. By focusing on these aspects, you can build stronger relationships with your team, foster a positive work environment, and ultimately lead your team to success. Remember, it’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.

Connect with Advanced Product Delivery.

APD offer private, tailored training courses as well as business agility and coaching. Our public training courses are delivered by practicing Agilists: Product Owners, Scrum Masters and coaches who are expert trainers and facilitators.

Whether you are looking to become a #scrummaster or #agilecoach, we have a range of internationally certified and recognised #agiletraining courses that are perfect for you. Visit Professional Scrum Training courses for more information.

If you are looking for professional, deeply experienced and skilled #agilecoaches and #agileconsultants to help you transition from traditional #projectmanagement to #agile #productdevelopment, we’ve got the ideal team to help you make that transition a success. Visit our Agile Coaching section to find out more about us.

If you have identified Lean Agile Procurement as a great opportunity to enhance #agility within your organization, visit the Lean Agile Procurement Training course or Lean Agile Procurement coaching page.

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