## Problem Solving And Decision Making - Houston PDF

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Problem Solving andDecision MakingStudent Manual

COPYRIGHTAll rights reserved world-wide under International and Pan-American copyrightagreements. No part of this document can be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system,or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying,recording, or otherwise without the prior written permission of Optima Train.Courseware Version: 3.0

TABLE OF CONTENTSSession One: Course Overview . 1Session Two: Definitions . 2Defining Problem Solving and Decision Making . 2Problem Identification . 3Eight Essentials to Defining a Problem. 4Problem Solving in Action . 8Session Three: Making Decisions. 9What it Means . 9Types of Decisions .10Facts vs. Information .11Decision-Making Traps .13Session Four: Getting Real .16Session Five: The Problem Solving Model .18Model Overview .18Real Problems .21Phase One .23Phase Two .25Phase Three .28Session Six: The Problem Solving Toolkit.30The Basic Tools .30The Fishbone .33Degrees of Support .34Creative Thinking Methods .35

Brainstorming and Brainwriting .40More Methods .41Session Seven: Aspirinia .42Decision Information .42Individual Action Steps .44Session Eight: Making Good Group Decisions .46Working Toward the Decision.46Avoiding Fatal Mistakes .50Session Nine: Analyzing and Selecting Solutions .51Selecting Criteria .51Creating a Cost-Benefit Analysis .52Session Ten: Planning and Organizing .54Introduction .54Follow-Up Analysis.55Evaluate .56Adapt, Close, and Celebrate .57Personal Action Plan .58Attendee Evaluation.59Recommended Reading List .60

Problem Solving and Decision MakingSession One: Course OverviewCourse OverviewWe make decisions and solve problems continually. We start making decisions before we evenget out of bed (shall I get up now or not?). Sometimes, we will have made as many as 50decisions by the time we leave for work. Despite all the natural decision making that goes onand the problem solving we do, some people are very uncomfortable with having to makedecisions. You may know someone who has a hard time making decisions about what to eat,never mind the internal wrestling they go through in order to take on major decisions at work.Likewise, we’ve probably all looked at a solution to something and said, “I could have thoughtof that.” The key to finding creative solutions is not just creativity, although that will certainlyhelp. The answer rests in our ability to identify options, research them, and then put thingstogether in a way that works. Having a process to work through can take the anxiety out ofproblem solving and make decisions easier. That’s what this two-day workshop is all about.Learning ObjectivesAt the end of this workshop, you will be able to:Apply problem solving steps and toolsAnalyze information to clearly describe problemsIdentify appropriate solutionsThink creatively and be a contributing member of a problem solving teamSelect the best approach for making decisionsCreate a plan for implementing, evaluating, and following up on decisionsAvoid common decision-making mistakesPersonal Objectives 2017 OptimaTrain.1

Problem Solving and Decision MakingSession Two: DefinitionsDefining Problem Solving and Decision MakingWhat, specifically, is a problem? A problem can be a mystery, a puzzle, an unsettled matter, asituation requiring a solution, or an issue involving uncertainty that needs to be dealt with. Youare dealing with problems every day.While doing some research on problem solving, we found some interesting arguments. Thereare quotes attributed to different people that say very different things about problems.Albert Einstein is quoted as saying that if he had an hour to save the world, he would spendfifty-five minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution. While peoplehave argued with Einstein’s numbers, the point is that a problem needs to be properly definedbefore you can come up with a solution that is worth implementing and deals with the problemadequately.Problems can be classified in three ways:Problems that have already happenedProblems that lie aheadProblems you want to prevent from happeningThere are three ways to approach problems:You can stall or delay until a decision is no longer necessary, or until the problem hasbecome even greater.You can make a snap decision, off the top of your head, with little to no thinking or logic.You can use a professional approach and solve problems based on sound decisionmaking practices.Think of someone you know who is a great problem solver. Describe the traits,characteristics, and behaviors that make them a good problem solver. 2017 OptimaTrain.2

Problem Solving and Decision MakingProblem IdentificationThe first and most important undertaking of your problem solving efforts needs to be definingthe problem. You cannot work on something if you don’t know what it is. You have to resist thetendency to start working on the problem as soon as you know one exists, and instead developan understanding of whether we are addressing the problem or merely a symptom of it.We should go after the problem rather than attack symptoms. This way, we can create higherquality solutions that in turn will eliminate or reduce the symptoms. As well, this will resolvethe problem much more easily than when you attack the surface only. Most importantly, you’llalso know that you are taking on a worthwhile problem.Can you think of an example of when someone looked at the symptoms instead of the root ofa problem? What happened? 2017 OptimaTrain.3