Problem solving & decision making


Solving the wrong problem is counter productive. Therefore, your first step is to clearly define the problem (or frame it)

Problem solving step 2: Diagnose the problem

Problem solving step 3: identify potential solutions

Problem solving step 4: implement a solution

Complex problem solving, which includes decision making, requires both specialist and generalist skills.

Much of our university and other formal training targets improving specialist skills. But we usually don’t get much structured attention to developing our generalist skills, i.e., our strategic thinking.

This site addresses this gap: it provides guidelines to help you develop your strategic thinking.

Problem solving in four steps

One way to visualize complex problem solving is to break it down in a four-step process. The first step is to define the problem—i.e., ensuring that you are not focusing on just a symptom or a less critical problem.

Second, you need to diagnose the problem. That is, understand its root cause(s). This may be facilitated through using a diagnostic issue tee / diagnostic map.

Next, identify all the potential solutions before deciding which one(s) to implement.

Finally, execute the solution(s)convince your team/boss/client that the solution you selected is the right one, implement it, and monitor its effectiveness.