Thursday, August 22, 2019

Discover What is at the Heart of the Problem

Discovering the heart of problems starts at the mindset level and takes both strategy and methodologies. 

We live in the world with all sorts of problems, even though we understand all different forms of thinking, the problems facing the planet don't seem to be reducing. Many problems exist because they are either ill-defined or the concept cannot be adequately captured contextually. Trying to fix the wrong cause of a problem will waste time and resources, increase anxiety and even cause chaos. Therefore, the deeper you understand the problem, the easier you could frame the problem, and the better chance you could solve it effectively. But more specifically, how to discover what is the heart of the problem?

Wrap the mindset around the problem: With “VUCA” new normal, problem-solving thought-processes and practices will not be simple for many vexing problems. The more complex the situation is, the more different approaches and role gaming is needed to reach for in-depth understanding. A logical problem-diagnose scenario that crosses all industries is to keep peeling back the layers to discover the root cause. Thus, it’s critical to leverage different thought processes for thinking about the specific issue and common challenges from different angles, and solving problems analytically and systematically. The problem-solving thought processes involve many forms of thinking such as temporal, inductive, deductive, analytical, system, abstract, historical, mathematical, and other forms of logic. Getting input from a broad range of personalities and cognitive difference between people on the particular matter. Collectively, people should bring different perspectives and the boundaries might have changed based on open conversations and continuous debate and brainstorming. You don’t need to always agree with each other, but it’s always critical to gain empathy, capture insight and come up with a fresh perspective on getting to the heart of issues before putting effort to solve it smoothly.

Leverage Systems Thinking to understand the “scope” of the problem: System Thinking is about seeing the inter-connectivity of parts and the whole. It helps to see a complex issue as a larger system with interactive pieces and “conflict” goals; understand the interdependent pieces, provide insight into the emergent properties, gain an accurate understanding of the overall situation and hence, it helps to better defining the real problem structurally. The more complex the situation is, the more important to leverage systems thinking, critical thinking and many other multidimensional thought processes to see underneath the symptoms, dig into root causes of the problem and see around corners without ignoring some pieces of important information. Systems Think helps to focus on relationships between things rather than characteristics of things, understand the outcomes of various relationships/actions in order to solve the problem thoroughly with less side effect. More specifically, leveraging Systems Thinking for problem-solving is about unfolding systemic relationships, telling stories to others, and soliciting their feedback. Systems Thinking practitioners can see the inter-connectivity between the different problems as well as the different part of the problems, diagnose the root cause of either old or emerging problems and solve them effectively.

Explore different ways of understanding and doing things: To discover the heart of issues and solve it effectively, digital leaders and professional should change their “we always do things like that mentality" by exploring different ways of understanding and doing things. Think both in macro and micro way, critically and creatively, assume that every problem has multiple solutions, always explore different choices, ask open questions to themselves and others to explore new possibilities. Until the underlying problem is addressed, the symptom or result will continue to return. Thus, people are encouraged to think differently, challenge old assumptions, update their knowledge, pull the necessary resources to experiment with different ways to handle problems, drive improvement, figure out better solutions and make them stick. 

Running a business is an iterative problem-solving continuum: Framing the right problems, assessing the right people with the right mindset and capability, and solving the problem effectively are all critical steps for developing problem-solving competency and improving business performance. There is no panacea for fixing all sorts of business problems. Discovering the heart of problems starts at the mindset level and takes both strategy and methodologies. Problem-solving masters are those individuals or businesses who are equipped with the digital mindset, accumulate sufficient information and knowledge, leverage the powerful digital technologies, avoid pitfalls and roadblocks along the way, build the differentiated business competency, and develop their own set of problem-solving principles, methodologies and practices.


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