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Solving problem in a jiffy

india Updated: Dec 29, 2006 16:48 IST

In a problem-solving culture, say authors Jack H. Grossman and J. Robert Parkinson in their book Becoming a Successful Manager, managers assume that their employees are responsible. Employees know that their main function is to solve problems and to produce results. To do so, they should be primed by the manager to ask themselves the following questions whenever they face a problem:

1 What do I want? Is it reasonable?

2 Do I have a detailed plan for achieving my reasonable wants? Does my plan describe how I can overcome foreseeable
3 Am I committed to working through my plan methodically and conscientiously?

4 How will I determine whether I am on track?

5 If negative thoughts or outside influence sidetrack me, what specifically can I do to rid myself of those thoughts and influences?

In a problem-solving culture, these questions enable employees to progress from point A, which is where they are, to point B, which is where they want to go.

Managers can at times, help their employees by analysing symptoms or by helping assess options. Suppose an employee is upset about an incident, but cannot understand the root of the problem.

Then managers can ask him or her to describe the symptoms of the problem and discuss how to solve it. Suppose an employee understands the cause of the problem, but is unable to see a solution.

Then managers can ask him or her to mentally work through the options and discuss each option. Each method reflects the basic philosophy of a problem-solving culture - all employees are worthy of respect.