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DecisionMaking

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DecisionMaking

  1. 1. Robertson-Howard Consultants Copyright © 2002 Robertson-Howard Consultants, Lincoln, NE 68504 Problem Solving The acid test of an officer who aspires to high command is his ability to be able to grasp quickly the essentials of a military problem. Montgomery 1
  2. 2. Robertson-Howard Consultants Copyright © 2002 Robertson-Howard Consultants, Lincoln, NE 68504 Problem Solving • When should you use it? – When you prepare a briefing – When you write a paper – When you plan or execute training • What is problem solving? – Rocket science – Magic Why do senior managers seem to ask the key questions? 2
  3. 3. Robertson-Howard Consultants Copyright © 2002 Robertson-Howard Consultants, Lincoln, NE 68504 Problem Solving 1. Recognize & define the problem 2. Gather information relative to the problem 3. List possible solutions 4. Determine the Criteria 5. Test possible solutions 6. Analyze Test results 7. Select the best solution 3
  4. 4. Robertson-Howard Consultants Copyright © 2002 Robertson-Howard Consultants, Lincoln, NE 68504 Problem Solving • Recognize you have a problem • Select and implement a solution • Re-recognize the problem • Select another solution • Implement solution • Get a new job Informal method 4
  5. 5. Robertson-Howard Consultants Copyright © 2002 Robertson-Howard Consultants, Lincoln, NE 68504 Problem Solving • Recognize & define the problem • Gather information • List possible solutions • List the Criteria used to evaluation • Test solutions • Analyze Test results • Implement the solution Formal method PM Toolbox 5
  6. 6. Robertson-Howard Consultants Copyright © 2002 Robertson-Howard Consultants, Lincoln, NE 68504 What is a Problem? • Professional – Scheme of maneuver – Equipment acquisition – Training plan • Personal – New vehicle purchase – Next assignment – Grad school choice 6
  7. 7. Robertson-Howard Consultants Copyright © 2002 Robertson-Howard Consultants, Lincoln, NE 68504 A Problem is . . . • The difference between – What is happening and – What you want to happen • Defined as – Well structured – Ill structured – Medium structured A problem is an unsettled question raised for inquiry, consideration, or solution 7
  8. 8. Robertson-Howard Consultants Copyright © 2002 Robertson-Howard Consultants, Lincoln, NE 68504 Problem Structure • Well-structured – All info is available – The problem is well-defined – A solution technique is available – There is a correct & verifiable answer • Ill structured – Problem difficult or impossible to define – Answer not verifiable 8
  9. 9. Robertson-Howard Consultants Copyright © 2002 Robertson-Howard Consultants, Lincoln, NE 68504 Medium Structure • Some information is available • Problem is partially defined • Solved by combination of – creative and critical thinking – routine problem solving methods Most problems we face are of medium structure 9
  10. 10. Robertson-Howard Consultants Copyright © 2002 Robertson-Howard Consultants, Lincoln, NE 68504 Time & Experience • High experience and time • Experience may lead to use of “old” solution • No benefit to a quick solution T i m e Experience III III IV Quadrant I 10
  11. 11. Robertson-Howard Consultants Copyright © 2002 Robertson-Howard Consultants, Lincoln, NE 68504 Time & Experience • High time, low experience • Systematic process can counter low experience • Group problem solving can help T i m e Experience III III IV Quadrant II 11
  12. 12. Robertson-Howard Consultants Copyright © 2002 Robertson-Howard Consultants, Lincoln, NE 68504 Time & Experience • Low time & experience • Most likely situation for errors in judgment • Seek outside expertise • Develop at least two solutions • Check for errors T i m e Experience III III IV Quadrant III 12
  13. 13. Robertson-Howard Consultants Copyright © 2002 Robertson-Howard Consultants, Lincoln, NE 68504 Time & Experience • High experience, low time • Mental screen of what “worked before” • Watch out for tendency to go with gut reaction • Consider at least two courses of action T i m e Experience III III IV Quadrant IV 13
  14. 14. Robertson-Howard Consultants Copyright © 2002 Robertson-Howard Consultants, Lincoln, NE 68504 Sources of Problems • Superiors • Subordinates • Corporate headquarters • New regulations and SOPs • Equipment and personnel changes • Operational and personal situations 14
  15. 15. Robertson-Howard Consultants Copyright © 2002 Robertson-Howard Consultants, Lincoln, NE 68504 Recognize and Define the Problem • Symptoms vs Problems – Headaches – Wet basement • Solving symptoms may not solve the problem • Successful problem solvers – Identify obstacles & symptoms – Focus on the goal & end-state 15
  16. 16. Robertson-Howard Consultants Copyright © 2002 Robertson-Howard Consultants, Lincoln, NE 68504 Recognize and Define the Problem • Compare problem situation to the desired outcome (goal/end state) • Define the problem boundaries –Who is affected? –What is affected? –When did it occur? –Where is the problem? –Why did it occur? • Consider how to eliminate obstacles • Write a tentative problem statement 16
  17. 17. Robertson-Howard Consultants Copyright © 2002 Robertson-Howard Consultants, Lincoln, NE 68504 Problem ID Aids • Use “How To” questions –How to keep the basement dry –How to increase PT or gunnery scores • Ask someone else to define the problem –Different point of view –Sanity check of your work –Use of another’s experience 17
  18. 18. Robertson-Howard Consultants Copyright © 2002 Robertson-Howard Consultants, Lincoln, NE 68504 Problem ID Aids • Use “visual centering” – Chart pack – Chalk board – Terrain model • Brainstorm – Don’t judge--listen – Record suggestions • Don’t rush – Use all the steps – Do it right the first time 18
  19. 19. Robertson-Howard Consultants Copyright © 2002 Robertson-Howard Consultants, Lincoln, NE 68504 Gather Information • Facts – Verifiable information – Observed events • Assumptions – Suppositions about truth – Possibly true, but unverifiable – Only needed if they affect solution 20
  20. 20. Robertson-Howard Consultants Copyright © 2002 Robertson-Howard Consultants, Lincoln, NE 68504 Gather Information • Criteria – Define your solution’s limits – Determine which solution is best • Screening Criteria – Must be met – Always Go/No Go; required absolutes • Evaluation Criteria – Compare possible solutions – “Like to have” vs “must have” 21
  21. 21. Robertson-Howard Consultants Copyright © 2002 Robertson-Howard Consultants, Lincoln, NE 68504 Gather Information • Definitions – Needed with unfamiliar words/terms – Consider your audience • Opinions – Personal judgments – Limited value, but must be considered 22
  22. 22. Robertson-Howard Consultants Copyright © 2002 Robertson-Howard Consultants, Lincoln, NE 68504 Sources of Information • Boss • Subordinates • Other units • Peers • Regulations • Publications • After Action Reviews • Company files 23
  23. 23. Robertson-Howard Consultants Copyright © 2002 Robertson-Howard Consultants, Lincoln, NE 68504 Barriers to Creativity • Habit – The old way – The safe way • Fear – ”Only a crazy fool. . .” – New guys should listen--not suggest • Inertia – Laziness – If it’s not broken . . . • Prejudice – Not developed here (Colt vs Berretta) – Pride of authorship 24
  24. 24. Robertson-Howard Consultants Copyright © 2002 Robertson-Howard Consultants, Lincoln, NE 68504 Sources of Solutions • Brainstorming – No judging – Record comments – Aim for quantity; hitchhike ideas • Nominal group – Members write ideas privately – Ideas are posted & discussed – Members vote by secret ballot 25
  25. 25. Robertson-Howard Consultants Copyright © 2002 Robertson-Howard Consultants, Lincoln, NE 68504 Resources & Values • Resources – Time – Money – People – Supplies – Information – Equipment – Space • Values – Appearance – Image – Ethics – Acceptance – Attitude 26
  26. 26. Robertson-Howard Consultants Copyright © 2002 Robertson-Howard Consultants, Lincoln, NE 68504 Raw Data Matrix Car $K Doors Trans Color Corvette 30 Two Manual Red T-bird 16 Two Auto Silver Civic 12 Four Manual Gray Olds 16 Four Auto Blue Lincoln 27.5 Four Auto Black 27
  27. 27. Robertson-Howard Consultants Copyright © 2002 Robertson-Howard Consultants, Lincoln, NE 68504 Group vs. Individual •Expertise •Acceptance •Time •Structure •Collective Genius 28
  28. 28. Robertson-Howard Consultants Copyright © 2002 Robertson-Howard Consultants, Lincoln, NE 68504 Leading, Caring, .... exercise 29
  29. 29. Robertson-Howard Consultants Copyright © 2002 Robertson-Howard Consultants, Lincoln, NE 68504 Cautions • Information sharing – Meetings & IPRs – What you know is important • Error checking • Scoping – Visualize the possible solution – Use rough estimation • Time – Use reverse planning – Stick to the schedule – Plan time for two COAs • Leader – Review progress – Fix time schedule – Identify new problems – Keep eyes above weeds 30
  30. 30. Robertson-Howard Consultants Copyright © 2002 Robertson-Howard Consultants, Lincoln, NE 68504 GroupThink • Strong groups – Members tend to think alike – Feel good about decisions the group favors • Leaders must accept objections • Devil’s advocate can argue other position 31

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