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Problem Solving For Mechanistic Needs – Solutions Finding For Humanistic Needs

Please enjoy this guest post from Michael Cardus of Create Learning.

When solving problems with machines, the focus is on the problem with a process structure that looks like this:

  1. Defining the problem.
  2. Generating alternatives.
  3. Evaluating and selecting alternatives.
  4. Implementing solutions.

It is effective with machines because determining the problem is identifiable and either a part can be replaced, more resources added or an adjustment can fix the problem. Effectiveness is increased and the problem is solved.

The challenge comes when working with people systems like leadership, management, performance, planning, communication of clear and distinct tasks and objectives, collaboration. These are human areas and the problem is not as identifiable as in a machine.

When examining the human system, the part cannot be removed and repaired, and the decisions become more complex. Complexity increases because human systems are interactive and what you see as the effect is not always the cause.

Solutions finding is the necessity of every manager in adding value to people to increase their ability to make decisions and solve problems. Work is making decisions and solving problems; this is what you are paid for.

Here is a better solution finding method for human systems:

  1. Setting the ground work – determining what is going on and asking questions about facts and evidence of the problem.
  2. Determining Goals – What is the solution of this problem, if the problem ceases to exist what will you be doing more of? What are we trying to achieve by finding solutions?
  3. Problem statement – what is going on? What is the problem exactly, with evidence plus clear and distinct examples.
  4. Solutions Example – determining what and how things will be different when the solution happens. What is the person doing more of, focusing on, developing, sharing, etc…?
  5. Scaling the solution – where are we right in reference to the solution, what has worked so far? What is keeping the solution alive? Examples the more realistic the better.
  6. Future of the solution – if things were just a little better what would be happening? What would it look like, sound like, feel like, where would energy, time money be going?
  7. Task Focus – What is one thing that you can start doing to solve this problem right now? What are you willing to do to solve this NOW?
  8. Follow Up – determine a time shortly to follow up and explore progress on the solution.

The Humanistic Solution Finding Model places responsibility to find and enhance what is working by shifting

  • Belief into the person who has the accountability to find and solve the problem.
  • Thinking and reinforcing the person with the ability to solve problems and make decisions.
  • Feeling that the solution is attainable and some steps are already in place that are working, making the goal more achievable.
  • Attitude switch from seeking problems to finding solutions.
  • Behavior of solving problems and doing more great work – in turn solving more problems and making better decisions.

Human systems thrive and work on solutions, the more people who find solutions the more problems vanish.

Michael Cardus is the founder of “Create-Learning” an experiential based consulting and learning organization that uses creative and energizing activities, learning simulations, and content presentations to fully engage participants in the learning and training experience, resulting in increased retention of team members, increased team member satisfaction and increased profit.