Problem solving is a sequence of mental steps – not an intuitive or haphazard behavior.
Research findings indicate that following some type of systematic procedure to solve problems always produces better results than using no procedure at all. Using a process enables you to maximize the return on the time you invest solving problems because it forces you to do a thorough job of investigating and diagnosing the problem. It also encourages you to generate a variety of solutions to consider and to predict as completely as possible all the positive and negative outcomes likely to occur with each option. How effective is your problem solving?
- Think about two problems you or your group has tackled in the last year.
- Quickly write them down. Include a brief description of the “solution” that was implemented or the outcome that was achieved.
- Now think how you went about solving the problem.
- Was a process used?
- How did the process help you to create a good solution (or contribute to making a bad one)?
- Can you think how a better process – using ANY process – might have contributed to a better outcome?