Thursday, January 31, 2013

Getting Help

photo by Stephen Downes retrieved from flickr/photos/stephen_downes
Can you do it all alone?

Are you so confident in your problem solving abilities, and so sure of the causes of your top problem that you expect to solve it on your own.

Maybe you can. And, maybe you can't. Sometimes trying leads to unexpected complications. It can lead to wild swings in momentum, the way an object in motion whips back faster the farther it gets away from you.

We can rely too much on our confidence and lose perspective.

Getting help with a problem can prevent some seriously self-centered mistakes.

If the problem were easy enough to solve on your own, wouldn't it already be solved by now?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How Many Root Causes?

How many root causes does your problem have?

Much of our time as problem solvers is spent on finding the root cause. Where does our problem originate? What is the source of our trouble?

Could that be a bit of a myth? Is it possible that one root cause has created the situation we now see as a problem?

Probably not.

There are probably many sources of the problem. There are probably many contributing factors. Sure, there may be one origination point -- but by the time the problem has come to your attention there are connections in places you haven't even looked yet.

Problems with only one root cause only exist in our imagination.

Solving that one perceived cause is a great start -- but are you looking for other factors, too?

-- Douglas Brent Smith