Saturday, February 7, 2009

Better Problem Solving

Problem-solving aptitude is the ability to identify and define problems as well as to generate and implement potentially effective solutions. Problem-solving includes multiple phases. It is a process and takes time. Those of us who cannot hold the tension or manage uncertainty over time have trouble with deep problem-solving because they rush to conclusion. Here is how that sounds just give me the answer or tell me what to do. The end result suffers. Peers who value a deep and expansive process suffer. The discovery of what is quite possibly revolutionary for your organization instead of immediate and easy and habitual suffers.

Problem-solving aptitude includes:

(1) the ability to sense a problem and feeling confident and motivated to deal with it effectively.

(2) the ability to define and formulate the problem as clearly as possible by gathering relevant information. This includes the ability to see connections that are not obvious.

(3) the ability to look for the source of the problem by uncovering habits and assumptions that might have created the problem.

(4) the ability to generate as many solutions as possible through brainstorming and other radiant thinking methods. (If you don't know the methods, this ability is compromised. The least effective, even harmful, method at this stage is deductive reasoning.)

(5) the ability to make a decision to implement one of the solutions. This stage includes weighing the pros and cons of each possible solution and choosing the best course of action. Questions still play an important part here: what if I do this? What if I don't do this?

Problem-solving is associated with being conscientious, disciplined, methodical, and systematic in persevering and approaching problems. This skill is also linked to a desire to do one's best and to confront problems, rather than avoiding them.

People who are inherently conflict averse, binary thinkers, micro-focused, reliant on deductive reasoning, impatient and unable to hold the tension of opposites are not good problem-solvers. In organizations, these people benefit greatly from recognizing this about themselves and finding a good thought partner to enhance their problem-solving effectiveness.

No comments: