We live in a less-than-ideal world. Things are sub-optimal, and this causes a lot of needless human suffering (after all, we solve problems because they cause human suffering).
Your success in solving problems is pivotal in nearly all professions, especially knowledge-based work which is more prominent nowadays. Whether you are a doctor, a psychologist, an economist, an investor, a consultant, your job revolves around solving problems.
Our problem-solving approach consists of three main stages:
- Identify ideal state
- Measure deviation from that ideal state
- Move things toward their ideal state
Those steps can be broken down into the following steps
- Identify the ideal state
- Ensure there is agreement on what that ideal state is (different stakeholders often have different ideal states in mind).
- Describe the current state (get inputs from everyone)
- Measure the deviation(s) of the current state from that ideal state
- Identify the causes of that deviation. This should include both root causes and minor causes.
- Develop a plan to tackle those causes and mobilize change towards that ideal state
- Monitor progress towards that ideal state, and repeat steps as necessary as the ideal state usually shifts