1. Define the problem
This is often where people struggle. They react to what they think the problem is. Instead, seek to understand more about why you think there's a problem. Define the problem: (with input from yourself and others). Ask yourself and others, the following questions: 1.
What can you see that causes you to think there's a problem? 2.
Where is it happening?
How is it happening?
When is it happening?
With whom is it happening? (HINT: Don't jump to "Who is causing the problem?" When we're stressed, blaming is often one of our first reactions. To be an effective manager, you need to address issues more than people.) 6.
Why is it happening?
Write down a five-sentence description of the problem in terms of "The following should be happening, but isn't ..." or "The following is happening and should be: ..." As much as possible, be specific in your description, including what is happening, where, how, with whom and why. (It may be helpful at this point to use a variety of research methods. Defining complex problems:
If the problem still seems overwhelming, break it down by repeating steps 1-7 until you have descriptions of several related problems. Verifying your understanding of the problems:
It helps a great deal to verify your problem analysis for conferring with a peer or someone else. Prioritize the problems:
If you discover that you are looking at several related problems, then prioritize which ones you should address first. Note the difference between "important" and "urgent" problems. Often, what we consider to be important problems to consider are really just urgent problems. Important problems deserve more attention. For example, if you're continually answering "urgent" phone calls, then you've probably got a more "important" problem and that's to design a system that screens and prioritizes your phone calls. Understand your role in the problem:
Your role in the problem can greatly influence how you perceive the role of...
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