Hi, this is Garry from Next Actions

Over the past few sessions we have talked about various techniques you can use when problem solving.

These are

Mindmaps and Outlines

Brainstorming

The 6 Thinking hats

SWOT analysis

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

Strengths

Weaknesses

Opportunities

Threats

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

Strengths

Opportunities

Aspirations

Results

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

Specific

Measurable

Achievable

Realistic

Timebound

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 garry@nextactions.com.au

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

Don’t forget to like the video and subscribe to my channel so you get new videos as they come out

I’ll talk to you again soon