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21 Oct 2013

Eight Alerts Help Us Anticipate Problems

This entry is part 1 of 9 in the series Why Problems Occur

Problem SolvingPeople tend to solve problems within the constraints of their strengths and preferences, thus IT professionals are likely to see IT solutions, sales professionals sales solutions and so forth. This happens with whole teams, whole business cultures. Analytical cultures will likely require more analysis, extrinsic cultures more extrinsic rewards. While such constraints aren’t necessarily bad because people need solutions they can execute, it does deter them from deriving better solutions requiring learning, others’ leadership or different perspectives.

Therefore, decisions, especially group ones, will have eight major drivers pushing people toward preferred solutions and away from good ones. These drivers alert me to anticipate further problems when too many are infecting decisions. I’ve written posts that go into each in detail. This post summarizes them and connects them:

  1. Easy over Difficult: choosing what requires less effort over more
  2. Immediate over Enduring: choosing quick fixes over more enduring ones
  3. Majority over Minority: choosing what is popular or what most want
  4. Known over Unknown: choosing what we know over what we don’t
  5. Big over Small: choosing a grand, bold approach ignoring too many small details
  6. Same over Unique: choosing a previous solution to address a new problem
  7. One over Many: choosing a solution primarily based on a single, important piece of information rather than the pattern emerging from many pieces of information
  8. Demarcation over Gradient: choosing solutions because they fit definable, quantifiable and accountable objectives rather than blur them

Again, none of these alerts is necessarily a problem singularly. Each varies in importance depending upon the problem. When several apply though they alert us that we are trying to conform problems and solutions to our comfort zone, not to reality. Consequently, our risk for wasting time, money and resources dramatically increases with “comfortable” solutions.


Series NavigationWhy Problems Occur (Alert #1): Easy over Difficult >>

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