HTML and CSS Reference
In-Depth Information
Problem Solving
Assessing Alternatives
At most any job, you'll regularly fi nd yourself confronting questions or problems and
needing to identify and choose among alternative solutions. Once you have a clear idea
of the problem, a systematic approach can help you identify the path forward that best
fi ts your needs.
Step #1: Determine Feasible Alternatives
In this step, document criteria by which you'll evaluate each course of action. Then,
brainstorm on possible solutions by collecting as many ideas as possible about how
to correct the problem. Write them all down. Don't discount any ideas as too radical,
expensive, or impossible to achieve. In fact, don't even attempt to evaluate the ideas
at all! Instead, encourage creative thinking. Ask “what if?”—What if we had unlimited
resources? What if we had new skills? Be sure to include as many people or groups as
necessary, since whatever solution is selected will need the buy-in of these same indi-
viduals and groups later on. Without their ownership, even the best alternative could end
up failing.
Step #2: Collect Information Needed to Evaluate
This step is where the pros and cons of each idea are evaluated. For each alternative
developed in step #1, additional information will be needed to fi ll out the solution.
Don't assume you know it all! Obtaining additional information will involve going back
to people you spoke with at the outset to seek their input on the choices. It also may
require securing fi nancial information from other divisions in the organization, learning
about operation schedules, documenting human resources constraints or training needs,
or sourcing some market research intelligence to be able to verify observations or anec-
dotal evidence provided during initial data collection about the problem. You'll likely
start to see relationships between the collected information that can provide insights into
the feasibility of the possible solutions.
Step #3: Evaluate Each Alternative
Document both the benefi ts and costs of all alternatives, whether quantitative (cost sav-
ings) or qualitative (employee morale). Spreadsheet software often helps problem solvers
track and quantify merits and drawbacks. Consider the resources required—fi nancial,
human, or other capital such as equipment. Are they affordable? Is there enough time to
implement the different solutions? There may be risks involved with some alternatives;
what are they? What would be the consequences if the chosen solution didn't work? The
best choice is to go with the solution that offers the greatest reward for the least amount
of risk. In some cases, the solution may require developing a “Plan B” to fall back on in
case the chosen solution fails to solve the problem.
Step #4: Select an Alternative
Don't get stuck trying to select a solution that addresses every aspect of a problem,
especially if it is complex. Rarely are solutions perfect. Instead, consider the effect each
alternative course of action may have as the change ripples through the organization.
Will the resulting change generate positive results and meet the criteria established at the
Search WWH ::

Custom Search