The Thinker: Holding the Key to the Real Answer?

Thinker Idea by Comfreak CC0 Public Domain from Pixabay

Are you a thinker? How much do you think about any prob­lem you face? Many instant­ly rush into solu­tion mode when they should spend a lit­tle time think­ing about the prob­lem and the impact of each poten­tial solu­tion that could be avail­able. With our fast-paced soci­ety it is easy not to think things through prop­er­ly, this is not a mat­ter of phi­los­o­phy but does require some understanding.

 

Facing a Problem

The ThinkerPeo­ple are reac­tive in nature. This is par­tic­u­lar­ly true when the pres­sure is on to com­plete a project and do things based on spur of the moment deci­sions. Trou­ble is a large per­cent­age of peo­ple act with­out under­stand­ing the full extent of the prob­lem at hand. Rarely do peo­ple take time to under­stand the root cause. They fail to take time to exam­ine the sit­u­a­tion thor­ough­ly. The chal­lenge is often see­ing the real prob­lem in front of them.

Some­one cried out for help but what is the problem?

 If you have not giv­en it enough thought then chances are that you will not use the right solu­tion. Its like tak­ing yet anoth­er headache pill when you are suf­fer­ing a headache — you are not look­ing for the root cause of the headache. They could indi­cate a med­ical con­di­tion need­ing resolution. 
 
Too often we seek the quick answer when more analy­sis is actu­al­ly need­ed. The prob­lem with the quick fix is that it treats the symp­toms and doesn’t find the real prob­lem. Most of the time the quick-fix isn’t an issue, but there are times when it clear­ly is. The fix is applied time and time again.
 
Do I real­ly under­stand the prob­lem I face? This should always be a ques­tion we should ask when­ev­er we look at any prob­lem. How much of a thinker are you?
 

Understanding Requires Analysis

The problem

Have you analysed it deeply enough? Do you know the cause? Do you need to ask “Why?”
 
This is often where solu­tions go wrong. Peo­ple love to jump in and start to tin­ker. Some peo­ple are pro­fes­sion­al tin­ker­ers, few are pro­fes­sion­al thinkers. The wis­est route may think­ing about the cause. If you know the cause of a prob­lem it is pos­si­ble to define a per­ma­nent answer. A repeat­ed workaround is not a per­ma­nent answer. Be a thinker rather than a tinkerer. 
 
I was look­ing at one such prob­lem many years ago as a busi­ness con­sul­tant. All the client’s staff ‘knew’ what to do to fix the prob­lem, trou­ble was they were fix­ing the prob­lem every sin­gle week and wast­ing time and mon­ey in doing so. They did not think about look­ing for the root cause, the prob­lem in the com­put­er pro­gram, then resolve that. Chang­ing the code was expen­sive. The net result was this wast­ed time con­tin­ued for many years. When tal­lied up they spent more than half a mil­lion dol­lars over fif­teen years using their workaround solu­tion. They would have spent less than $20,000 fix­ing the prob­lem once and the fix would have last­ed for all time.
 
We were look­ing at chang­ing some of the busi­ness process­es when we stum­bled on this par­tic­u­lar prob­lem almost by chance. Even after we had a pro­gram­mer change the code to cure the sys­tem prob­lem employ­ees still spent time dou­ble check­ing every­thing. Show­ing their dis­trust. The prob­lem was so in-ground in their minds, they had long since stopped trust­ing that the com­put­er pro­gram would pro­duce the cor­rect result. It also shows how much time peo­ple waste. The right per­son should have been called immediately.
 
In order to solve any prob­lem we should always per­form a full analy­sis before attempt­ing to change the process.
 

Understanding Requires Thought

 
AlternativesTruth is we tend to do too many things with­out think­ing through the con­se­quences of the actions tak­en, there are many times today where it seems the real abil­i­ty to think has become a thing of the past. Analy­sis and think­ing a prob­lem through are nec­es­sar­i­ly the twin tow­ers to any prob­lem solv­ing approach. Analy­sis leads us to ask what is going on where­as think­ing leads us to ques­tion why does it occur. 
 
This is a part of an empir­i­cal approach which peo­ple should adopt more read­i­ly than they do, indeed there are times we need to ask all five ques­tions, what, why, how, when, where and some­times the sixth who as they may all have rel­e­vance to find­ing the answer.
 
This is some­thing we should make a more con­scious effort with for all prob­lems that we face. When we do not know the fullest extent of the prob­lem then it is essen­tial we lis­ten to those impact­ed on a dai­ly basis, they often know best.
 

Then Define the Solution

It is only once you have tak­en the rel­e­vant analy­sis and think­ing steps is it pos­si­ble to iden­ti­fy the solu­tion, even when a solu­tion seems easy.
 

About Peter B. Giblett

Peter Giblett is a writer with a pas­sion for busi­ness. He is pub­lished in a num­ber of loca­tions includ­ing 2 Drops of ink and Wik­in­ut as well as a num­ber of client web­sites. He is cur­rent­ly seek­ing new com­mis­sions to write for clients.

 

Your views count, please leave a com­ment at the end of this arti­cle. If you liked this page then please con­tribute to the suc­cess of this page, buy Peter B. Giblett a cof­fee as a thank you for pro­vid­ing this article.

 

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2 Replies to “The Thinker: Holding the Key to the Real Answer?”

  1. I real­ly appre­ci­ate your exam­ple of the employ­ees who were “fix­ing” the same prob­lem each week. When seen in such con­crete and strik­ing terms, it’s so much eas­i­er for peo­ple to under­stand why they need to find the root cause of a prob­lem and address that rather than find­ing quick fixes.

    1. Peter B. Giblett says: Reply

      It is my expe­ri­ence that too many look for the quick fix, which is no such thing and costs more mon­ey over the longer term.

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