Problem Definition Strategies


Why is it important to learn problem-solving skills?, Because, we all have problems that need solving.

Whether you’re a young woman, elderly man, a physician, or the businessman, you face problems every day. A problem can be achieving a goal, giving up an addiction, success at work, or choosing food for lunch. Whether it is big or small, if it remained as unsolved problem, it would become a nagging source of stress. In contrast to solve every problem makes us stronger and more optimistic.

The most important step of all is defining a problem. Defining the problem plays a vital part in the problem solving, because, different definitions lead to different attitudes. Einstein said: if I had one hour to save the world I would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution.

There are four strategies for a well-defined problem.

1. See every problem as an opportunity.

A problem is an opportunity for growth, because, your potentials are awakened by problems.

When you change your attitude and see the problem as an opportunity; situation become more exciting and enjoyable and increase your enthusiasm. In this state solutions are looked faster and more clearly.

2. Chunk down

Break the problem down into smaller pieces. Chunking down gives you a pragmatic view about it. In fact, with this attitude the problem becomes manageable pieces. These questions can help you for chunking down:

What are the underlying causes of it?

What are the key pieces of it?

Why did that happen?

What happened about…?

3. Chunk up

Look at the big picture. Chunking up gives you helicopter view about the your problem. Chunking up means; putting the problem into a specific category. Labeling is a kind of Chunking up. When you label the problem and put it in the particular category, you can find experienced solutions easily.

These questions can help you for chunk up:

What does this mean?

Let’s look at the bigger picture…

How does that relate to…?

What are we trying to achieve here?

Who is this for? What do they really want?

How does this relate to that?

4. Third perspective

Denial is important psychological cover for seeing all aspects of a problem. Looking at the problem and yourself from a third perspective with a view without judgment can cut through the denial. Observing without judgment gives you much information about the problem, yourself, and the relationship between you and the problem.


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