Saturday, June 26, 2021

Alternative Solution

As a leader, you should encourage creative initiatives, you should expect mistakes and still encourage people to make mistakes, yet you need to be able to solve the problems or to guide the team on finding alternative solutions and this has to happen fast.

We all develop reputations for being problem creators, problem definers or problem solvers. In the business world, at least, you can't always wait for the "best" solution to emerge. It is important to experiment, explore, and encourage new ways to solve problems.

 Thinking creatively about a problem requires being close to the problem, understanding context and intangible variables, digging into the root causes, designing solution models, analyzing cost and benefit, and finding real solutions that are delighted with the amorphous-unlimited and imponderable options.

Cause-effect reasoning: Understanding a problem is the most critical step in solving it, fixing the wrong cause of a problem will waste time and resources, increase anxiety and cause chaos. Context aids us in understanding what’s relevant and what’s not. The assumption that there is a single cause to a complex "problem" is na├»ve; there are often multiple and inter-related dynamics behind complex problems. Sometimes you need to get out of the box to understand issues holistically; other times, you perhaps should work cross the box, diagnose the causes of problems from different angles. The comprehensive understanding of a complex business problem requires both cross-domain knowledge and breakdown of the silo mentality, leverage different thought processes to define problems systematically or analytically or both for framing problems holistically.

The insight of the situation requires in-depth understanding: In hyper-connected and interdependent digital new normal, assessing and defining the problems is usually more important than solving the problem. In practice, too often, people may take the easy path, think and work at a superficial level rather than spend the time to understand what is going on underneath. Or they have a static mindset to get stuck at “the old way.” There is a lack of structural processes suggested for defining and solving problems systematically. An insightful thought can go beyond a moment, even take a certain systematic planning. It's worthwhile considering why things are the way they are for, in doing so, you are challenging automatic assumptions that something needs fixing.

Generalization-specialization: Problem-solving is a multi-stepped process that includes both problem resolution and solution implementation in a structural way. So many people do not know how to connect the dots within complex systems, nor think inclusively, or holistically, nor comprehend dynamics, induction or deduction, nor understand expensive variables, interfaces, and interactions. Being a structural problem-solver means you need to combine or integrate different pieces of answers to ensure a cohesive solution to larger problems with less side effects.

Practically, the way we manage structure - the paradox of structure, actually, has a marked impact on how we deal with problems and the types of solutions we envisage. Solution architecture is an effective tool that can be used to walk through the scenario from generalization to specification by clarifying: Where do we need framework and guidance? What are optimized processes, practical methodologies and best practices to solve problems? How to handle different stages of problem-solving with attention and proficiency to ensure success? Solution architecture helps to eliminate confusion, apply a holistic view, and take customized approaches to each problem, and make continuous adjustment. It is a set of principles, guidelines, processes, structures, etc, that describe how the components and standards of the business work cohesively to solve complex problems systematically. It also helps to prioritize important factors such as requirement, quality, and cost when architecting solutions to make business more productive, collaborative, and smarter.

Cost-benefit analysis: Running a business is a problem-solving continuum. Solving the right problems and solving them cost effectively is one of the most important aspects of running a successful business. Great problem-solvers demonstrate the courage to leave inside box thoughts and standards to seek additional resources, update knowledge, and embrace alternative solutions. The greatest challenge for them is to educate the business on the cost/benefit for each of their business solution alternatives, and together, they can make the best-informed decisions they are capable of. They are able to estimate the time and cost for relevant activities that they can think of and include a consideration of the interconnections

The management should do comprehensive cost-benefit analysis, learn and explore different methodologies to present optimal business solutions. The 'hard' Return on Investment has varied 'soft' perspectives. Effective problem-solvers scrutinize cost, complexity, or foot print, become outside-in customer-driven, integrate different pieces into a more holistic solution to complex problems. Also, appreciate cost savings in a problem that never happens and continue process improvement for either preventing problems or solving problems systematically.

The business or societal progress is made via a healthy cycle of problem framing and problem-solving continuum. Though it is important to take a logical and stepwise approach to problem-solving, logic or process shouldn’t stifle creativity. As a leader, you should encourage creative initiatives, you should expect mistakes and still encourage people to make mistakes, yet you need to be able to solve the problems or to guide the team on finding alternative solutions and this has to happen fast. And ultimately, you can turn around the tough situations, and enjoy the challenges about complex problem-solving.


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