Section 1: Problem Solving

Section 1: Problem Solving

“Introduction … Approaching the Problem … Defining the Problem … Making a Plan … Conclusion”
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Summaries

  • Section 1: Problem Solving > Subsection 2: Approaching the Problem > 3.1.2.2. Applying the Process
  • Section 1: Problem Solving > Subsection 3: Defining the Problem > 3.1.3.6. Structure the Problem
  • Section 1: Problem Solving > Subsection 3: Defining the Problem > 3.1.3.11. The 80/20 Rule
  • Section 1: Problem Solving > Subsection 4: Making a Plan > 3.1.4.4. Analyzing and Synthesizing Your Findings
  • Section 1: Problem Solving > Subsection 4: Making a Plan > 3.1.4.8. Communicating Your Plan
  • Section 1: Problem Solving > Subsection 5: Conclusion > 3.1.5.2. Revisiting Problem Solving

Section 1: Problem Solving > Subsection 2: Approaching the Problem > 3.1.2.2. Applying the Process

  • Caroline realizes she can’t make cupcakes for the afternoon rush because her delivery driver, Ed, isn’t bringing the supplies early enough.
  • The only problem now is that the new driver has the exact same problem.
  • So Carol does some more investigating and finds that the suppliers aren’t filling the orders on time.
  • The suppliers are getting the orders on time but aren’t filling them because they haven’t been paid yet.
  • If Caroline had taken the time to figure out the root cause of her business’s problem, she could have addressed it quickly without losing any employees.
  • Having an analytical process helps ensure that you don’t let hasty reactions cloud your thinking! You will need to invest time and energy to thoughtfully break down the problem.

Section 1: Problem Solving > Subsection 3: Defining the Problem > 3.1.3.6. Structure the Problem

  • You can map out these branching possibilities in a thoughtful, highly organized way with an issue tree.
  • This will help you plan your problem solving approach down the road. How does an issue tree work in practice? Let’s run through an example.
  • What could be driving low Revenue? It could be a few things: Volume: Simply put, maybe you are not doing enough orders.
  • Another cause could be Price: Maybe you aren’t charging enough for your work.
  • Let’s keep going- and think about what could be causing each of the issues you just outlined to happen.
  • There are a few issues that could be driving this: The first, is not enough engagement Leads which could be caused by too few Returning customers, Referrals or too little Advertising.
  • The likely issue could be that the Price is too low.
  • Another, potentially harder to detect issue could be that you’re not using the right Pricing Model.
  • This is most likely the result of the messaging of your Marketing materials, or even your own Sales pitch! The objective of the issue tree is to break the problem down into discrete, manageable pieces that you can individually analyze and tackle.
  • You can continue further down your issue tree until you have reached the desired level of specificity.
  • Using an issue tree enables you to gain clarity on potential causes so you can quickly move to action!

Section 1: Problem Solving > Subsection 3: Defining the Problem > 3.1.3.11. The 80/20 Rule

  • Problem solving is not about addressing all factors influencing the problem- it’s about effectively prioritizing issues – and solutions – that ‘move the needle.
  • After identifying a number of potential issues and executing analysis, you recognize that the root issue is the volume of projects.
  • You know you have a great conversion rate and a lot of your business comes from referrals, so the key to growing your pipeline may be advertising.
  • What are some ways to use advertising to help grow awareness of your business and hopefully generate more leads? You could do a number of things.
  • Once you have honed the issue, you should apply the 80/20 rule to evaluating solutions.
  • Every one of your potential solutions will probably help increase your business, but your time and energy are limited; so try to identify and address the 20% of factors that will get you 80% of the way to your goal.

Section 1: Problem Solving > Subsection 4: Making a Plan > 3.1.4.4. Analyzing and Synthesizing Your Findings

  • If you conducted a survey to identify desired features of a new backpack, take your survey data and compile it into a list.
  • If two of the comments you received comments were: “It hurts me when backpacks sag down the back of my legs,” “I like having comfortable straps,”you might categorize these comments into the following summary: Comfort is a crucial feature consideration when deciding on a backpack.
  • If you also received information that highlighted color and pattern as desired features of a backpack, the synthesis might be: Color, pattern, and comfort are three important factors that a customer takes into consideration when purchasing a backpack.

Section 1: Problem Solving > Subsection 4: Making a Plan > 3.1.4.8. Communicating Your Plan

  • Once you have developed a problem solving plan, it is important to clearly communicate that plan to key stakeholders.
  • Demonstrate how your plan contributes to the company’s strategic trajectory and aligns with common goals.
  • Your stakeholders will feel more invested in your plan if you tell them about it in an engaging and participatory way.
  • Explain your rationale-Trust the plan you have made and fully explain your rationale to key stakeholders.
  • Obtaining buy-in from stakeholders is key to your plan’s success.
  • Once your audience understands your plan, its scope, logistics, and how it contributes to your shared goals, they will be engaged and able help you to implement it.

Section 1: Problem Solving > Subsection 5: Conclusion > 3.1.5.2. Revisiting Problem Solving

  • In today’s fast-paced and increasingly connected workplaces, problem solvers like you are in high demand.
  • You now know how to frame problems, develop action-oriented plans, and overcome common barriers to reach solutions.
  • The next section focuses on design thinking – an innovative process that can help tackle small and large problems creatively.

Return to Summaries List.

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