The Challenges of Problem Solving

August 29, 2013
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There is nothing more challenging for leadership and management than problem-solving and decision-making. It does continuous focus and a clear commitment to seek cost effective solutions every single day. Here in Columbus and Mid-Ohio, there is an array of situations that need resolution. It does not make a difference if solutions are needed for micro, small or larger business; every problem usually is has the same urgency.

From the original Dale Carnegie classic of 1944, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Chapter Four focuses on analyzing and seeking answers and eliminating the biggest problems first. Mr. Carnegie suggests that we must “equip ourselves” to handle the various issues and deal with them immediately as they come.

Three steps Mr. Carnegie states will work every time:

  • Get the facts.
  • Analyze the facts.
  • Arrive at a decision and then act on that decision.

Although it often appears very clear, it is through the process that results are achieved.

It is important that there is definition and a five step formula:

  • What is the history of the problem?
  • What is the present situation?
  • Develop and discuss three strategies that possibly fix the problem.
  • Pick the best one of the three.
  • Test and implement.        

According to the techniques in Chapter Four of the book, it simply takes sufficient knowledge of the issue to maximize success. The late Herbert E. Hawkes, Dean of Columbia College, Columbia University, helped over two hundred thousand students deal with problems. He once said, “If I’ve got all the facts the problem will usually solves itself.”

Mr. Carnegie suggests that it was Professor Hawkes who maintained that objectiveness is essential when solving problems and making decisions. Problems need to be defined and assessed with the help of other people. It takes strong leaders to get it done. We just need the facts.

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