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
People 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
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
Truth 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.
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