The Definition of a Problem

In one of our previous posts, Identifying Causes of Organisational Problems, we spoke about the layered questioning process that helps in solving problems of all sorts – the cause and effect chain.

One more trick that helps enormously in problem solving, and indeed in many other areas of organisational life, is to spend some time defining the problem. So often we assume that we have a problem clear in our mind, and that there is a shared understanding of the problem amongst the team. However when we try to articulate the problem, all too often the areas that lack clarity or shared understanding are exposed.  It is in the act of defining the issue that the end goal becomes clear.

The Definition of a ProblemUse this technique in other areas as well to bring clarity. For example, always define carefully the intent of any measure, metric or KPI that you collect as part of your measurement and analysis activity.  Define the strategic intent of any strategic goal or activity.  Define the intent behind restructuring, downsizing, cost cutting, the creation of new positions, the creation of values, the shake-up of a management team, team development activities and so forth. I am sure you get the picture 🙂 . Taking the time to articulate your intent in this way will increase the probability of success or your endeavour and most likely will also change your perspective as you move ahead.

I encourage you to take the time to make this a habit.

All the best for a productive and focused week!

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