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What's your problem?

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Problems come in many shapes and sizes. Make sure you're solving problems effectively by using the right tools for the job. Our new infographic shows you how to choose.

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What's your problem?

  1. 1. Chaotic Problems WhatIsSuccess? Watchfor Makeadifference.Tomakeadifference: Situation We'reenteringanemergingmarket.Wehadonecompetitor,butsixmorehaveappeared.Thepublic lovesus,butananalystreportcalledourconceptjunk.AcmeIncisabouttoreleasetechnologythat couldmakeusobsolete,butwejustwon$5Minventurecapitalfunding.Howcanwesurvive? Chaoticproblemschangesorapidlythatthey exhibitnostablepatternsthatcanbemanaged. TheWorldofExperimentation &Learning Respondin themoment. Seekguidance fromexperts. Spotpatterns andseize opportunities. Helpothersshare observations,learn, andtakeaction. HowToChange: Discernwherestabilityispresent andwhereitisabsentSomepeople arerunningtowardsshelter(stability). Othersarelyingonthegroundwhere peoplecansteponthem(chaos). WorktobringordertochaosDirect emergencyresponseworkersto moveinjuredpeopletoshelter. Seizenewopportunitiesastheyarise Createanadhocemergencyshelter inaflatbedtruck HelpfulQuestions: Whatishappening? Whatseemstowork? Whatvaluesare importanttome? Certainty ofsuccess EgoTrips Isuccessfullylaunchedan internetbusinessduring thedotcomboom,soIcan leadanykindofstartup brilliantly. AddictiontoChaos Ilovetherushof workinginchaos,so I’llinventchaoson thejob. TooManyCooksinthe Kitchen Ourfoundertoldusto focusononearea,and ourCEOtoldustofocus onanother.Whatdo wedo? SolutionBecomesa Problem Icreatedanonline forum,butsomany peoplesignedupthat thesystemkeeps crashing. Complex Problems WhatIsSuccess? Watchfor Changeissuccessfulwhenhabitualundesirablebehaviorsarereplaced withdesirablebehaviors.Toachievedesirablebehaviors: Problem Wewanttoincreaseuseofbirthcontrol.We couldembarkonapublicawarenesscampaign, distributefreebirthcontrol,and/orrecruit peopletoendorsebirthcontrol,and/orrecruit trustedcommunitymemberstoendorsebirth control.Whatwillhavethegreatestimpact? Problem Weneedagreementamongtengovernment agencies,sevencompanies,fourteentribal nations,andeightenvironmentalgroupsabout howtousetheCuyahogaRiver.Howcanwe createguidelinesthatallpartiescanendorse? Complexproblemsdon’thaveeasyanswers. TheWorldofExperimentation &Learning Build relationships. Alignpeople aroundthegoal. Experimentwith differentsolutions. Learnfromexperience andadjustfutureplans. HowToChange: ProbeforPatternsWhatconditions allowpeopletoinnovate? SensePeoplethinkcreativelywhen encouragedbytheirmanagerand whenfailureisn’tpunished. RespondCoachmanagersto encourageexperimentation. HelpfulQuestions: Howcanwemake senseofthis? Whatisourpurpose? Whatisimportanttous? Howdoweknowwhat isright? Certainty ofsuccess Commandand Control Becreativenow! Intolerancefor Failure Howcouldyou screwthatup? DeclaringSuccess Prematurely/ Over-Controlling We’llbecreative everydaybetween 4and5pm. Over-Simplifying Theproblemis Accountingsince theycomplain mostoften.Let’s transferthem. IncorrectBoundaries Ourteamissolving thefinancial problem,sothere’s noneedtoinvolve Accounting. What’s your problem Simple Problems Simple Problems Complicated Problems TheTried&TrueSeries:TrustedModels thatStandtheTestofTime Matchyourchangetechniquestothetypeofproblem you'retryingtosolve Kindsofproblems WhatIsSuccess? Watchfor Everychangeisdesigned tosolveaproblem. Knowingwhatkindof problemyouneedto solvecanhelpyouchoose therighttechniquesfor yourchangeinitiative. Changeissuccessfulwhentheundesirableeffectnolongeroccurs. Tobesuccessful: Cause Bakeraddstoo muchsalt. Effect Caketastes salty. Simpleproblemshaveeasilyseen causeandeffectrelationships. ? TheWorldof Cause&Effect TheWorldof Experimentation &Learning TheWorldof Cause&Effect Cause Senderdidn'tcc bossonemail. Effect Bossdoesn't receiveemail. Cause Afterconsultingwiththe softwaremanufacturer andourinternalexperts, wedeterminedhowto reconfigureourservers. Effect Oursoftware upgradeis malfunctioning. Cause Ourusualbabysitter isnotavailable,our backupsitterisbusy, andwebothhaveto worklate. Effect Wedon'thave anyonetopick upourchildon Thursday. Publicizebest practices. Followbest practices Complete actionitems. Makeincremental improvements. HowToChange: AssessFacts Theprinterisjammed. CategorizeFacts Whentheprinterisjammed, it’sgenerallyduetoapaper feedproblem. ApplytheAppropriate, EstablishedBestPractice Whenthere'sapaperfeed problem,clearandreloadthe paper. HelpfulQuestions: What'sthecorrect procedure? Arewedoingthings right? Canwedomoreofthe same? Howcanwemakeita littlebetter? Certainty ofsuccess CategorizationErrors Isapaperfeed problemcausingthe jam?Isapart malfunctioning?Or somethingelse? RigidThinking Paperjamsonly happenwhenusers makemistakes. Complacency Ourprinterusually works,sowhyworry aboutthepaper jams? MakingSimple ProblemsComplicated Theprinterjamwas causedbythe interactionbetween paperweightandink. Complicated Problems WhatIsSuccess? Watchfor Changeissuccessfulwhenhabitualundesirablebehaviorsarereplaced withdesirablebehaviors.Tobesuccessful: Complicatedproblemshavecauseandeffectrelationshipsthat arehardertodiscernthantherelationshipsinsimpleproblems. TheWorldof Cause&Effect Lettheexpertsrecom- mendacourseofaction. Increasethenumberofpeople whocandiagnoseproblemsby buildingexpertise. Improveprocesses. HowToChange: AssessFactsOperatorssetproduct specsandthemoldingmachine executesthem. AnalyzeOperatorssetparameters correctly,butthemachineproduces productsthataren'ttospec. DevelopaSolutionthatAddresses theRootCauseUpgradethe moldingmachine. HelpfulQuestions: What'sthebestwayto gatherandanalyzedata? Whohasthenecessary expertise? Whattoolswillhelpus? Whatguidelinesshallwe create? Certainty ofsuccess RigidThinkingby Experts Alowlyoperator can’tpossiblysolve thedefectproblem. AnalysisParalysis Let'sresearchfora fewmoremonths beforeweact. DeclaringSuccess Prematurely Wecompletedour actionplansowe’re alldone. NotInventedHere Syndrome HowcouldtheOslooffice knowwhatwouldbe helpfulinBeijing? Adaptedfrom: “ALeader’sFrameworkforDecisionMaking,”Snowden&Boone,2007.http://bit.ly/1Fmur7K “ComplexChange:AnEmergingField,”Waddell,2014.http://bit.ly/1S8AEep “ComplexSystems,TheoryofConstraints,andtheSearchforInherentSimplicity,”Holt,2010.http://bit.ly/1Fp9vKd “ComplicatedandComplexSystems:WhatWouldSuccessfulReformofMedicareLookLike?,”Glouberman& Zimmerman,2002.http://bit.ly/1HsLhp3 “ComplicatedorComplex–KnowingtheDifferenceisImportant,”Allen,2013.http://bit.ly/1L7hu30 “ExploringtheScienceofComplexity:IdeasandImplicationsforDevelopmentandHumanitarianEfforts,”Ramalingam &JoneswithReba&Young,2008.http://bit.ly/1R15T9R “FacilitativeLeadershipandCreativeProblemSolving:TwoToolsforHighPerformanceBusinessAnalysis,”Wilkins, 2011.http://bit.ly/1HftkFb GettingtoMaybe:HowtheWorldisChanged,Westley,Zimmerman,&Patton,2006. “LeanStartupintheEnterprise,BigVisibleSolutions,2012.http://bit.ly/1EhS7X6 “ReadingSituationalResponses,”Haskins,2009.http://bit.ly/1HsKO6z “ThreeTypesofChangeforChangeNetworks,”Waddell,2010.http://bit.ly/1HsLad7 ThankstoGlendaEoyang,StephanieNestlerode,JeffWetherhold,AlfredoZangara,andothersforthoughtfulreviewsof thiswork. PartneringResourcesisamanagementconsultingfirmdedicatedtohelpingindividuals,teams,andorganizations thriveinournetworkedworld.Wehelpcompaniesdevelopnetworkedleadership,navigatechange,andfind opportunitiesincomplexbusinessecosystems. Visitusonlineathttp://partneringresources.comforfreesimple, complicated,complex,andchaoticproblem-solvingtools. Complex Problems Chaotic Problems High Medium Low None

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