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Naturally, the verb you choose will influence how you see the problem.Thus, a statement that begins “how to minimize” or “how to cope with” or “how to eliminate” sees the problem just as that, a problem, whereas a statement that begins “how to restore,” “how to maximize,” “how to gain,” how to accomplish,” or “how to enhance” suggests a more positive view of the problem.Most problems leave paper trails and careful analysis of printouts, marketing research, findings, and other data can cast a light on a problem or suggest a new product idea that further research can confirm.
But there are other, lesser-known techniques that can help you look differently at problems—opportunities—then identify ways to maximize the value of these opportunities.
Critical to doing this is how you define the problem.
Such techniques are covered in AMA seminars on problem solving and project management.
View Problems as Opportunities and Mistakes as Progress We tend to think of problems as just that—problems.
It helps them to make the right decisions and focus their energies where it will have the greatest return for the organization, but tapping into mission or goals isn’t always sufficient.
Nor do bromides about the value of employee initiative constitute a supportive environment for out-of-the-box thinking for staff members.
Choose the Best Solution If you can, in any problem-solving effort, pretest your better ideas to identify the best.
If you can’t run small pilot tests first, then choose the best idea, adjusting it as circumstances require.
Problem sensing begins by defining the nature of the problem.
That entails focusing on the “what” or cause of the problem, maybe even putting the cause in writing.