The first thing you will hear is, “We have a problem”…
Whenever we have a problem then we need a fix…fixing problems is what this article is all about.
Therefore, it stands to reason that we look into the pitfalls of addressing problems. It does shed some light on the road well traveled going there when negotiating problems.
Whenever problems arise, get it down on paper, and then draft a problem statement, define in words what is wrong.
Drafting “Problem Statements” are good precursors to what’s to be expected next VS. where you are now.
It orientates both people and groups.
Problem statements are the pre-cursor to what lies ahead, a list of things describing a problem, and what we can we expect, shortly, if we act versus if we don’t. Especially when looking at ways and means of solving these problems in a business sense. Then having problems on paper is always a good idea…thus the first step in solving problems.
So what is a problem stamen exactly?
A proper problem statement; is a written statement of intent;
That describes the problem, with a short to the point synopsis, then it goes on and gives a cause and effect overview, alluding to possible ways of solving this issue at hand.
A proper problem statement requires the feedback to be compiled in three parts:
1) the ideal solution, the contemplated solution,
2) the reality it will create, and
3) the possible consequences we could expect.
To get to this final product, you have to go through a process. When bringing together a team to achieve a particular purpose with, provide them with a problem statement first, this will focus their attention on specifics, and guide them as to what the desired outcome should look like, this then will also ring-fences the scope of possible solutions envisaged, as well as the outcome desired. A good problem-statement aims to eliminate waist by stating certain specific requirements that should answer these questions:
- What is the real problem?
- Who has the problem or who is the client/customer with the problem? This should explain who needs the solution and who will decide the problem has been solved.
- What form can the resolution be in?
- What is the scope and limitations (in terms of; time, money, resources, technologies) that can be used to solve the problem?
- Has the right questions been asked – who, what, where, when, how, and how much? We can guage this from the feedback
- The primary purpose of a problem statement is to focus the attention of the problem solving team. However, if the focus of the problem is too narrow or the scope of the solution too limited the creativity and innovation of the solution can be stifled.
Now we are ready to drill down…into details, and influences on this process.
What is the PROBLEM then?
“Problems” are part and parcel of our daily lives, everyone has them, and they come in many forms. If you don’t have a problem, then– you must be dead. All living creatures have to have problems to solve as a fact of life and living.
Every day starts with where will I find food today, shelter, work, affection, recreation, and all our basic needs that need fulfilling, they dictate primary (primitive) actions that create secondary problems for us to solve. Once primary needs are satisfied, we then move on to the higher order things, like “wants”, where wants become focal, then everything else becomes complicated.
The most important attribute for survival and sustained growth is vested in our focus and ability to problem solving and thinking. The degree to which we solve problems with, and get results. Will translate into how far you will make it in life.
How do we do it?
Well, some problems we solve through routine, and others through planning, habit, some just consideration, or contemplation, and even through environmental design etc… thus it all boils down to a variety of thinking and ways of attacking problems with. IE. Someone sat down, made a plan, created a solution for us, and fixed the problem for good. (Now we have street lights, takeaway food, running water, houses, blankets, it’s all good, and many primary problems solved). This then created secondary problems. Like dead street bulbs, they now need replacing, rubbish, sewage, fires, contaminates, from the a fore mentiond.
Mainly, we speak of problems as single entities, so if we fix one problem its done, in some instances yes, in most cases no. Problems in the main, are multifaceted and layered. Comprising of multiple attributes, if so? Then so to are the ways to attack them. We could fix a problem then, by just addressing one attribute of it. Problems therefore do not exist as single entities; they are compacted assimilation’s of many contributing facts and factors, that become attributes of the bigger concept, that produce one concept that then creates the problem for us.
The point is, we use up so much of our time daily, just by being busy solving problems, ours, others and then even random, every day stuff. It has been estimated that as much as 80% of our waken time consciously is spent solving problems, and even subconsciously. If we could see that by just addressing the right attributes of problems, it could then become their total solution, then we would save lots of time. Therefore it stands to reason that we should sharpen the saw, and get these skills well honed, and working to perfection. Problem solving and problem-solving skills development are all integrated or integral in our life styles, upbringing, and development, so deeply part of our whole being. It defines where and even who we are. The people that succeed far better in life, have superior problem solving minds, their abilities and skills surpass others by far, – some call it intelligence – mostly because they started very early on in life with problem solving. This built confidence and required skills, and the knowledge to perform such tasks better than others then…
Daily, we all run into problems, glitches, snags, challenge, or whatever you would like to call them, that call on our collective minds to solve them, if we are not able, we delegate, or seek someone or something, like tools to help us. Now, that someone or something needs to deal with this… in the absence of solutions we tend to then just leave it.
In the event where problems aren’t solved, it has a pesky ability to escalate, and become a far bigger animal, this normally plays out as; disasters, catastrophes, misfortune, and the like – nothing ever good comes from not addressing big problems and by just avoiding them.
I am sure we all have and will remain forever with having to solve problems; especially if the rule is, the more people the more problems, same with everything ells, it’s all about proportions.
How we solve problems strategically, will dictate how they will be recreated tomorrow or not, let’s look at an strategic approach to the layered nature of problem solving; by using corporate culture and identity building model as an example to explain the process with;
Where the problem facing us is defined as; Start by creating a strong corporate identity and a healthy culture, then here is a problem to solve…
Looking at the proportion and scope of this problem
Then we have to follow a few steps, start;
1)Prioritizing the problem;
Daily we are in no short supply of problems that demands on our attention. Problems rule our lives; it forces us to become consumed with them, it is only by sorting and prioritizing them, and our lives out, that we get problems sorted out
Start with first order of business; sort problems into; not urgent, serious, and pressing issues, and situations that require critical thinking, some deliberation, and resolves…
2)Give it attention;
Study the attributes, and define them. See if something can be made of the attributes, that would render a solution to the problem.
3)Act on it;
A situation where we need a solution now is more random than otherwise, action beats reaction, most problems want a solution right now. Logically this requires contemplation, to bring forth a resolve or solution that translates into decisive action and a successful conclusion. Resolves, come in many forms, we should be looking for people with skillsets, that can address these situations amicable for us. The bigger the problem the greater the scope, then normally multiple types of skills, and levels of it, could be required.
Problem-solving ability has become a major part of living, and making a living, for daily we need solutions, to ordinary problems reoccurring, all of them to do with life and living issues. Time also hatches new emerging problems, thus all aspects of life and living becomes infected with problems, connected with change and even more problems as a result will appear.
At times it even goes beyond just people, where skills are needed to be specific to the resolves contemplated or required, then the next level unfolds, then we require specific resources. (EG. we need coal for coal power stations and uranium for nuclear).
If not for these problems, we would not have had the need for jobs some believe.
4) Were you both efficient and effective
- Check if you were efficient and effective at this task.
People; create problems that other people have to solve by being efficient and effective about it
Let’s look at problem solving in the work place, against a corporate culture deficit and development model;
In order to be effective and efficient, we need to start at the personal level, you need to know what business you are in first, and your co-workers must all share this same version, or vision; Effective is doing things right, whilst efficient is doing the right things, you are effective with things and efficient with people.
- We should strive to be efficient when working with things and processes. The more efficient we work the more we can get done with better results. However, if we use this same approach to working with people we inevitably upset them decreasing morale and efficiency. Why is this true? It is because we are all individuals with differing needs.
- This is the first problem for most companies, with broken cohesion. The individuals don’t know who they are, so they don’t know how to add value, when they are treated like numbers.
- When we are effective with people they become more efficient. Being effective means treating them as valued individuals not objects, resources or tools to get things done.
- Also, very important mind set; if they don’t know what business they are in either, they confuse role identification with job description. How you label a job describes how a job will be done; am I a fire fighter or an emergency service provider? This aspect changes our outlook on life, and how we approach or jobs and our customers, it’s really a departing mindset that dictates how we will act.
- We don’t all see life the same, “you see life from where you are”, now, today, all totally different perspectives looking at one thing.
- Our mindsets need reference points, to calibrate our thinking, to have one common perspective, that infiltrate our perceptions on reality that ultimately influences our behaviour.
- This is why someone realised the importance of focusing people, with vision, mission, and goals. Where then the;
i. The vision becomes an expression of how the whole department should work.
ii. In the event, where the true purpose is unknown to all, and they know not their business they are in, then their purpose becomes obscured;
iii. Opposed to them knowing what business they are in, then they have common vision, shared beliefs and become more synergised units
iv. Vision needs to synergise, not just the work performed, but also the minds, where perceptions need to be linked in order for a synergised core belief to develop, this then should translate into building strong corporate culture, through concentrating on designed, constructive and better effective communication.
Good effective continued communication helps problem solving;
Effective communication should flows from the top, then sideways, or it should. What I am talking is this; the term is strategic communication; it should always start with leadership, having one voice, one understanding, one vision, although they may have many faces; it is incumbent that leaders lead with one common understanding and voice.
Designed strategy = designed communication;
Organisations need to be organised in order to exist, and sustain growth. This also applies to their communication, and the content and context thereof. In order to become a brand you will need a common identity and belief. This only transpires if we all have the same “battle language”. Inculcated or institutionalised norms are strong pillars of trust and inter personal freedom, established through established bonds, and practices of communication, performed in a social environment, where a corporate culture will emerge from, if these principles of organisation and perception management are followed with design in mind.
In order for this to happen; we need to ask a few questions; what do we need to stop, start, and continue doing to build strong corporate culture?
Start by promoting a new reality.
Start by promoting a new reality, empower people to become people again. With; “You work for yourself first”, at the place of market. Your value will determine how you will be compensated, by the skills you have on offer. Your job does not define who you are, but only what you do; your pay grade defines how well you are valued.
You are a business, selling skills. If you don’t take that business serious – you, then no one else will either.
You are a business in itself first – a contractor, selling your skills or ability.
Most people Problems start with the self, if your own house or business is not in order, how you will be able to focus on solving your employer’s problems. We live a life of success and failures. We have good, better and bad days, all of us. It has to do with how we condition, calibrate ourselves daily and then take that into our work place.
We all get paid by the hour, or that is the perception, what this actually means is; it’s about the value that you have been adding with your skill sets, whilst utilising time.
Only when the rewards are seen to be great, and worth any effort spent, will some men aspire to be come greater than others, in the absence thereof, there is just no reason to exert much more than the collectives avarage effort.
Seize the moment
Seizing moments in time becomes a transition to having more good days. An active mind is n happy mind; an idle mind is n dark hole. The mind requires activity to be happy and prosper, learn every day, feed your mind like you would the body, and watch what happens. The person that takes the helm owns the ship. Risk equals rewards. Zero risks, zero rewards. Braving the storms brings brighter tomorrows. Involvement, commitment, and truth, builds commitment to task. Whatever you are tasked with, will come to fulfilment if you are committed. If you are Pondering on these two; commitment or involvement; then you need to be pushed, then you have no seriousness. Mindsets, though, determines where you will go, and not how you will get there, you get there by going through the motions and actions of yes and no, you own yes or no, be decisive in this to progress.
Adults cannot function well in the absence of fear, so a little fear is always a great motivator towards owning the process of growth. There needs to be a possibility of loss, for us not to default to lessees-fair, and laziness. Responsibility and accountability seizes with unhappiness. Then we start with self-talk, that is in itself very destructive. What are you saying to yourself, matters? Good self-esteem builds more steam to travel with. Letting off steam during a journey and not at the end, deflates your value to everyone.
Determined and motivated people work hard. Motivation is a form of personal sacrifice; therefore, attempting to motivate undetermined people, makes them just feel pressured.
Exposure to influences in your circle, filters into your being, what we keep in mind, we become more off. What we are consumed with tends to consume us. Intrinsic belief becomes culture.
Therefore designing a desired outcome stems from utilizing influence over power… the difference between influence and power is this. The key to leadership is influence. The key to power is to practice force through motivation.
Leadership and goal setting
Respect builds rapport, you mange things and you lead people.
Goal setting focuses our objectivity, and then it builds momentum, that tends to start realising visions. If we think on paper, it becomes strategic and measurable. Get people to focus on goals, goals linked to objectives, becomes millstones, which in turn links to the bigger picture.
If we have No vision, we lose all hope, hope creates an unconscious incompetence in the absence of Goals, and we tend to become stagnant and lazy if we have no vision to work towards. This snowballs into the negative, and then we tend to fight against conformity, and society.
Exclusion in any form, economic, academic, or religious – leads to unconscious incompetence. Where we become dislodge from our; mentors, peers, groups, spouses, and whatever reference points in life that give us bearing. We default in behaviour. We unconsciously become self-inflicted with doubt, pain, disbelief and frustration. In the absence of leadership.
Leaders that lead know
That social interaction is imperative; you have to be seen, to be effective. So how well are you planning you interactions, do you just show up, and go with the flow…? Or do you incorporate a lot of sociological behaviour techniques.
Leaders need people to focus on focusing people, and then people need to become focused, on goals, and goals, on visions, so to the need to know what their business is, and they themselves see their business within this business as being their business on achieving goals, to own it.
Leaders must also be disciples
Discipline comes from the word disciple that implies that we conform to a certain norm or truth, therefore discipline should be seen as something you do for someone, not to someone, you need to preach to covert, and the converted, and covert those who fall off the rails, and we need everyone to be on track. This implies that mentoring, training and assisting is also great ways of enforcing discipline.
Especially, If and when, the wheels come off then we derail ourselves internally if we don’t have self-discipline. Discipline is communicating good norms and values. Both internally and externally we have to communicate effectively.
Live by the laws you preach; by setting the example, and ultimately enforcing the principles…it builds the core competencies frame work. You cannot build core competency if people are not mature, secure, and disciplined in their constitution.
Again problems give rise to problem solving. The lack of discipline is a good example; in the absence of discipline we have chaos and then problems occur. How we go about solving problems builds rapport, respect and character.
Most of our problems the world over are common. If we subscribe to everything we will have nothing to stand on, and problems will emerge all over. If we subscribe to a few good principles, we will have much power, and influence. This key to overcoming several common problems in business, and as strategist, relates to common sense prevailing.
People have commonality; wherever you find them, they have common attributes, observable traits they exhibit. You can spot trouble a mile off if you are observant of human nature and behaviour.
Character bounces on the 80-20 rule, or domino effect, where twenty present efforts will translate into 80 present actions; where twenty present of the population carry the other eighty percentages, then only 20% is requir3d to fix all of mankind’s problems.
In today’s business, the total role of leadership starts with the CEO, he or she is the most important customer, of all people calling themselves employees. Take his temperature and feel his pulse. Create harmony by learning his ways, and understanding his will, and balance will follow. Balance can co-exist with movement. Where we seek harmony first we seek working in motion, then we equalise, and then balance comes in.
Friction subsides where we communicate and share, sharing is caring someone said once, that builds and harmonise. We require this competence.
Competence encircles three attributes; they are knowledge, skill and attitude.
We need to change our attitudes, so that we have fewer problems today.
We hire on only skill and knowledge, instead of attitude. It gets better, and then we fire people on attitude. My question now is, when you have a thing of great value, will you ever give up on finding ways to improve it, to solve bigger and even bigger problems with, to build competency and increase your own value. So that you become the most valued person you can become.
Problems I am sure we can write a book on, however, it’s only by choice, and sound reasoning that we tend to steer clear of them…