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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Problem Solving

For everything you wanted to know on building leadership and management, refer Shyam Bhatawdekar’s website:

(Refer our High Quality Management Encyclopedia “Management Universe” at:

Problems as Opportunities
  • Problems can be seen as opportunities.
  • Problems are not barriers to success.
  • As you solve the problems, you see the solutions for implementation.
  • Implementation of the solutions brings results and success.
Process of Problem Solving

Also refer: (TRIZ- Inventive Problem Solving) and (Critical Thinking skills)

1. Recognize the problem.
2. Take ownership of the problem.
3. Analyze the problem.
  • State the problem or define the problem.
  • Set the goal.
4. Conceptualize the situation.
  • Identify causes.
  • Prioritize causes.
  • Generate solutions.
5. Evaluate and implement.
  • Evaluate solutions.
  • Make a decision.
  • Create, implement and monitor the plan.
6. Review the outcome.

Tools and Techniques Used in Problem Solving
  • Observations and data collection.
  • Cause and effect analysis.
  • ABC analysis.
  • Histogram.
  • Why why or 5 why analysis to reach to the root cause of problem.
  • Nominal group technique.
  • Option plan.
  • Trade off analysis.
Guides and Tips on Each Stage of Creative Problem Solving
  1. Curious observation: Be alert- what is required? Be skeptical- so as to prevent trouble. Discover problems- ask why?
  2. Is there really a problem?: Analyze problem carefully and define it properly.
  3. Goal setting and planning: Break problem down into sub goal or sub problems.
  4. Search, explore and collect evidence: Search Internet, books and other sources. Follow leads. Explore all the angles.
  5. Generate creative and logical alternative solutions: Search for ideas, refer related sources and publications to imagine and to think.
  6. Evaluate the evidence: Wherever possible, chart evaluations of your tentative solutions or theories. Compare and test.
  7. Make the hypothesis (Educated Guess): State your hypothesis clearly. Make predictions for testing.
  8. Challenge the hypothesis: Test. Experiment. Control variables.
  9. Reach a conclusion: Can others test and confirm your conclusions?
  10. Suspend judgment: Keep an open mind. Be ready to accept new evidence. Knowledge is forever changing.
  11. Take action: Without timely implementation, problem solving is never complete.
Below are the supporting stages and tips used at all the preceding stages:
  1. Creative, non-logical, logical and technical methods: Use all types of methods at all the stages to accomplish results.
  2. Procedural principles and theories: Follow those used by researchers everywhere but anything goes (if ethical).
  3. Attributes and thinking skills: Be team worker, communicator etc. Use creativity. Reason logically.
Benefits from Problem Solving and It's Process
  • Hidden information and new issues are revealed.
  • Systematic means/process for dealing with problems.
  • An attitude change from problem focus to opportunity focus.
  • Recognition of other positive outcomes beyond the problem being solved.
  • Reduction in time wasted.
  • Highly skilled employees.
  • Defining the problem incorrectly.
  • If the steps in the problem solving are missed or wrongly tackled or wrongly sequenced, problem solving process is disrupted and good solutions may not emerge.
  • Absence of targets of time line, costs, quality etc.
  • Trying to solve the problems beyond one's ability.
  • Involving wrong people in problem solving process.
  • Insufficient monitoring.
  • Trying to see or imagine a problem when none exists. Just because you have a hammer, don't fix the nail.
For More Guidance, Assistance, Training and Consultation


Also refer:, and

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