Hi, this is Garry from Next Actions
Over the past few sessions we have talked about various techniques you can use when problem solving.
Mindmaps and Outlines
The 6 Thinking hats
And the SOAR analysis
Each of these moves you towards a solution, but when used together you can produce well-thought-out creative solution.
Join me to talk through how using these together allows you to turbo-charge your problem solving and get the results you deserve.
We all come across problems every day.
Most of these are small and simple, and we can fix them without any real thought.
Then we come across the bigger problems
These need you to investigate more deeply, to think through them, to come up with solutions.
And this doesn’t just apply to problems.
You may have a new project, either from someone else, or something you have come up with yourself.
For any new project the first steps are to investigate, think and plan.
To help you do this we have discussed 5 techniques you can use
We started with Mindmaps and Outlines
This are two complementary techniques that allow you to capture your thinking
They let you quickly capture your ideas onto either paper or a computer system
You can then re-arrange these into sensible groupings to allow you to start to see patterns
Understanding the patterns then allows you to start to develop your solutions
Mindmaps and outlines are key to allowing you to document what you will come up with in future steps
If you aren’t capturing your ideas then you are forgetting them
And a forgotten idea will never come to fruition.
We next looked at Brainstorming
This is a way for you to quickly capture ideas
It works best when run with a small group of people who come together to solve the problem
You are quickly able to pull together peoples thoughts
You’re not analysing these ideas in these sessions, you’re purely capturing them for later investigation.
After the session you would spend time to capture all of the ideas that were generated into your mind map or outline
This then enables you to start to analyse them
We have our ideas, the next step it to use The 6 Thinking Hats
This is a technique that allows you to look at your problem, and solutions, through different viewpoints, which are called hats
Each hat has its own focus, these are
White – focusing on facts and figures
Red – emotions and feelings
Black – cautious and careful
Yellow – positive
Green – creative thinking
Blue – Control of thinking
You would look at your problem and solution using each of these hats
The aim is to dig deeper into it, using the hats to look at all the different angles
This gives you a more thought out solution and will help you to more readily see the benefits and the weaknesses
Again, you would document the results in your mind map or outlines
These solutions now give you a way forward.
The last two techniques are complementary
You can run each against your solution, but you can also do them in isolation
These two techniques are really useful when doing long-term planning
They are there to help you better understand where you are now, and where you want to be
If you are applying them to solutions you are intending to use they help you to see the issues you may face, or the benefits you may get.
The first is the SWOT analysis
This stands for
This technique allows you get an understanding of where you are now through your strengths and opportunities
You also then think through any issues you may be facing, these are your weaknesses and threats
You would then look at each of the weaknesses and threats and look at how you can use your strengths and opportunities to mitigate against them
The mitigation is a series of steps that you can take to reduce the impact, or even stop, the weakness or threat.
So if you have a weakness of “lack of technical knowledge”, you can come up with 2 possible mitigations
Either you can get trained in the new technical knowledge or you can hire someone who already has it
You would then need to investigate both these options to decide which one to go for
In this example you may even use both, you may hire someone on a short-term contract to start the work, while you spend 6 months getting trained
Again, make sure you document the results of your SWOT analysis in your mindmap or outline.
The final technique is the SOAR analysis
This is very similar to the SWOT analysis
SOAR stands for
This technique is similar to the SWOT analysis
The major difference is the SWOT analysis focuses on uncovering weaknesses and threats but SOAR is all about your strengths
Its about taking what you already do well and building on it to take you to the next level.
You spend time here looking at your vision, what success will look like.
This is then written down as a series of Aspirations
You then take your existing strengths and opportunities and come up with a series of actions you need to take to use them to meet your aspirations
These are then written as the results
Don’t forget when writing results to make sure they are SMART
The SOAR analysis gives you the optimistic view of things
The SWOT analysis gives you the pessimistic view
Combined they give you a more holistic picture of where you are going.
As with the other techniques make sure you document the results of the SOAR analysis in your mind map or outline
Have you used some, or all, of these techniques?
If you have then please put a comment below
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Each of these techniques is a powerful tool to have in your personal box of tricks
It’s when you start putting them together that you can really uncover the gems that you may not have previously seen
Looking at them people often think that it’s going to take a long time to do them all, and yes there is a time commitment to them
For small problems you can do these really quickly, each step may only take a few minutes
For bigger projects, yes it will take longer, but you will also better understand what you are doing
Taking the time to properly think through, and investigate, problems and solutions will save you time in the long run
Without these you are likely to jump into the first solution you come up with.
You spend time, effort and resources working on this solution, then find that its not going to work
That means you then have to go back to the start to look for a new solution
You have wasted time and money
By stepping back and running though these techniques you are able to better understand the problem, and think through solutions before you start work
This will allow you to see what will work and what won’t
It will allow you to put in place mitigation plans to get over potential issues
It will allow you to plan, and understand, how you will get to where you need to be
It will save you time and effort
You will start work on a solution that fixes the problem
You will get the results you deserve
If you are have a problem or project that you are struggling with, why not get in touch with me
Working together we can identify a solution to your problem and get you moving toward it.
Isn’t it time you stared to get the results you deserve.
Please reach out to me on 0415 591672
I am based in Australia so please use the international dialling code +61 if calling from another Country
You can also email me on email@example.com
or visit nextactions.com.au where you will find a link to book a free short introductory call
Do you have any topics you’d like me to cover
If you do please drop a comment below
And I’ll add to the list of upcoming videos
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I’ll talk to you again soon