Friday, October 15, 2021


Through a well-designed problem-solving scoreboard, you can capture both quantitative hard numbers about value-creating & cost savings and qualitative perspective of problem-solvers’ multifaceted professional competency.

The business or societal progress is made via a healthy cycle of problem framing and problem-solving continuum. Keep in mind, problem-solving is about understanding a problem, discovering the root cause, and actually finding a solution to that problem. 

A well-established scorecard for problem-solving makes an objective assessment of problem-solvers as well as measuring problem-solving progress both qualitatively and quantitatively.

Cognitive competency: Problem-solving today is complex, do problem-solvers have the right mindset to solve problems? The assessment should start at the mindset level because the power of the mind is the force to effective problem-solving. Generally speaking, the people with cognitive competency to solve large or tough problems are the ones who possess the right mind with positive thinking, critical thinking, creative thinking, systems thinking, curiosity, inclusiveness, etc. They also show emotional intelligence to dispassionately analyze the situation objectively, make sound judgment, demonstrate flexibility to make the adjustment, and show maturity to wrap things up without causing further issues.

Effectiveness: Effectiveness is about doing the right things and solving the right problems by following the clearly defined principles and leading in the right directions. Too often, people may take the easy path, fix the symptoms as they think and work at a superficial level rather than spend the time to understand what is going on underneath. Make an objective assessment of problem-solvers by asking: Are they insightful enough to dig into the root causes of issues? Can they frame the right problems to solve? Do they have prioritization skills to solve problems that really matter? Is there clear logic behind their problem-solving scenario? Assessing and defining the problems is usually more important than solving the problem, otherwise, trying to fix the wrong problems will cause more problems later on. Prioritization matters; 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 long-term business success.

Efficiency: Efficiency is doing things right, or solving the right problems in the right way with minimum inputs and resources. Can people use the right methods and tools to solve problems cost effectively? What are their best and next practices to improve problem-solving efficiency? Efficiency means a way to measure how well you are solving the right problems in terms of available resources, costs, and talent, have visibility and traceability between costs and the problem-solving consuming those costs. The cost optimization metrics include such as forecast benefit, benefit/cost projection, cost/structure analysis, etc. The goal of improving problem-solving efficiency is to take multidisciplinary approaches, select tailored tools, methods, and practices to pursue optimal solutions.

Holistism: Many large scale problems are complex, have a lot of inter-dependencies and uncertainty; it requires problem-solvers taking an interdisciplinary lens to comprehend the interdependent pieces, and gain an accurate understanding of the overall situation sociologically, technologically, psychologically, economically, and anthropologically. It’s important to understand the “scope” of the problem, see a larger system with interactive and interdependent pieces and “conflict” goals; provide the insight into the emergent properties, the overall situation and hence, solve the real problem piece by piece, also integral them into a holistic solution in a structural way.

Innovative problem solving is about how to think differently, unconventionally, or from a new perspective for either defining or solving existing or emergent problems efficiently. People who can solve problems in a new way are the innovators. You never know how innovative you might be in some field before encountering the problems and before the adoption of solutions. Innovative problem-solvers ask open questions such as “What If,” or “Why Not,” to stimulate deep brainstorming, enjoy understanding a variety of complexity, appreciate the interaction and interrelationship dynamic, and guide people through it; finding common ground and initiative dialogues, embracing broad perspectives, collecting relevant information, connecting wider dots to think about alternative solutions.

Through a well-designed problem-solving scoreboard, you can capture both quantitative hard numbers about value-creating & cost savings and qualitative perspective of problem-solvers’ multifaceted professional competency. Technically, it has an intuitive graphical display that is well laid-out, easy to navigate, displaying the information that can be customized and categorized to improve overall assessment effectiveness.


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