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.

 

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2 Comments

  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.

    • 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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