Clarification is probably the one pivotal factor in solving any problem.  Seems logical and probably easy right?  It seemingly is, but in reality getting clarification is one of the hardest things for people to do.  Most of us have experienced the waiter who takes the order by memory.  They don't want to ask questions or inquire about details because they are afraid to mess up the order.  This technique is quite impressive when it works!  Some of the time it doesn't and when it doesn't it is quite terrible.  The food comes out wrong because the person was more concerned about showing off than getting the order exactly the way the customer wanted it.  Personally, I don't care so much about their memorization prowess as much as my food coming out correctly-it's just a small pet peeve. How does one get clarity?  Clarity comes from asking the right questions.  In the beginning until we get your bearings we will have to ask several questions that may or may not factor into solving the problem at hand.  But, as we become more experienced the amount of questions will decrease.  Sometimes as we think of questions to ask the problem gets solved and there is no need to ask any questions because we clarified it in our own mind.

In solving problems there are no bad or dumb questions as long as they are asked in the spirit of solving the problem.  I once had a client who was a well known chemist and during WWII he was practically kidnapped and brought to a super secret facility to help with a super secret problem.  The hard part for him was that he never considered himself a chemist and was only doing it to subsidize his love of singing.  So, he was brought to this room with several well known scientists and military people and asked to solve this super secret problem (he never actually told me the problem).    He told me that he was so nervous and frazzled that all he could only ask questions while he tried to calm down.  After several questions the problem began to solve itself and unravel right before everyone's eyes.  Within an hour he was lauded as the savior of the day, but he never told them the answer- all he did was ask questions.  He told me that for that point forward he always first asked questions to gain clarity before trying to solve any problem.

Have the humility to ask for clarity in order to solve any problem.  It is super easy to do in theory but super hard to do it in reality.  It is hard because of our egos and our desire to thought of as good and thus we lack the humility to be right.  So rather than be good be right.  In order to get it right, gain clarity by asking questions.