Thursday, June 6, 2019

Three Causes of Getting Stuck at the State of Problem-Solving Impasse

 With holistic thinking and strategic perspectives, the problem-solving masters can grasp the opportunity to take care of a chain of problems, not just an individual problem.

Generally speaking, a problem is a difference between an expectation (vision or intention) and the actual situation (current reality) coupled with a negative feeling. Problem-solving is about seeing a problem and actually finding a solution to that problem, not just the band-aid approach to fix the symptom. In today’s hyper-connected and ever-changing business environment, business problems become over-complex and interdependent. Even though you have a good intention to solve problems, perhaps lack of the right talent and capabilities to define and resolve the real problems. Here are three causes of getting stuck at the state of problem-solving impasse.

Wrong thinking (silo thinking): Today’s organizations have stepped into the ever-evolving hyper-connected digital world, running a business is fundamentally an iterative problem-solving continuum. However, many business managers or professionals still apply silo mentality and linear management disciple to solve ever complex business problems. No wonder often they get stuck, only fix the symptom while the real problem keeps coming back. Because at times when only they want to see things from their own point of view, see what they want to see, or, hear-what-they-want-to-hear, they often miss the point to understand the real problem holistically, dig into the root cause of the real issue and solve it systematically. Silo mentality will cause numerous blind spots in talent, resources, processes, capacities, and capabilities. Silo sets the barriers to real problem-solving also because people are not comfortable going across the territories for collaboration or they just get stuck at “we always do things like that” mentality. In the “VUCA” digital new normal, there isn’t always a right or wrong choice in any situation. To overcome the “problem-solving” impasse, it’s critical to challenge, debate, and learn by applying holistic thinking and opening the dialogues to close blind spots and bridge cognitive gaps for identifying and solving real problems. With holistic thinking and a strategic perspective, the problem-solving masters can grasp the opportunity to take care of a chain of problems, not just an individual problem.

Wrong problem: We live in the world with all sorts of problems; many problems exist because they are either ill-defined or the concept cannot be adequately captured contextually. Some problems are the symptom; other problems seem irrational as they are caused by people’s emotional reaction to a set of the circumstance of events. There are illogical problems or wick problems. There’s the problem that the same word means different things to different people because they have a cognitive difference or they carry emotional baggage to understand what the real problem is and solve it smoothly. If you spot the wrong problem, it perhaps means more damage than what you think of. Often times, people have a tendency to try to fix a symptom that results from the actual cause of the problem. Trying to fix the wrong cause of a problem will waste time and resources, increase anxiety, and cause chaos. When solving the wrong problems, it’s no surprise that you are going nowhere, cause more issues or get stuck at the state of problem-solving impasse. A logical problem-diagnose scenario that crosses all industries is to keep peeling back the layers to discover the root cause by asking “WHYs,” or take further system analysis to dig into the real cause and address it. Solve problems really matter and solve them in the right way. In the business context, it takes commitment and discipline to stay focused on the real priorities of the business instead of being distracted by what seems to be more urgent on any given day in order to solve the most critical problems and ensure the long-term business success.

Wrong people: Cognitively, people are often at the center of the problem. When picking the wrong people with narrow-mind, silo thinking, outdated knowledge, or skills. they will cause more problems than solving them. It’s no surprise that will cause more issues and get stuck in going nowhere. Thus, one of the most important and difficult management disciplines is to put the right people with the right mentality and capability to solve the right problems at the right time. Generally speaking, the people with differentiated competency to solve large or tough problems are the ones who possess the right mind with positive thinking, creative thinking, strategic thinking, etc, which is the utmost quality for being the right fit because the power of the mind is the force to problem-solving. Problem-solving is both art and science. It involves breaking down complex problems into smaller pieces. Besides logic, there is a role for intuition in problem-solving. Thinking creatively about a problem requires being close to the problem, it requires context and intangible variables. Focus on the root cause and get away from a preconceived solution if you believe that the proposed solution is not the optimized solution. Selecting the right people for solving the problem in the right way is about taking the logical scenario, leveraging multidimensional competencies to formulate premium solutions to resolve problems, show versatility and flexibility in response to unpredictable or unanticipated circumstances.

There is no magic formula for problem-solving. If you try to impose solutions or structures that are too far ahead of the curve, the result is alienation and rebellion rather than problem-solving. A healthy process for problem-solving goes between flexibility and hard process; creativity and logic, the best practice, and the next practice. High mature organizations have a strong capacity to leverage resources, time, and human capital to solve business problems really matter, take care of a chain of problems; and make a smooth transition from pursuing the perfect solution which perhaps does not exist to making the continuous adjustment and improving the overall problem-solving competency.


Post a Comment