Back to Back Issues Page Newsletter #31– Problem Like Maria? - June 19 2007
June 19, 2007

June - Management for the Rest of Us

"How do you solve a problem like Maria?" sang the nuns in The Sound of Music, whilst pondering the fate of their wayward charge Maria.

Some problems are easy to solve, and barely get noticed. Other problems hang around, keeping you awake at night and sucking up your mental energy. These are the problems I like. Why? Because I like having something to worry about? Perhaps, but more often it's because there's nothing like the feeling of having successfully solved a complex problem or negotiated an emotional minefield.

Here's what may seem a trivial recent example - what birthday cake should I make for my two year old? Sounds easy doesn't it? But consider this - I can't use gluten flour or eggs due to food allergies. Now it's getting trickier. And allergy free cakes aren't always the taste sensations their regular counterparts offer.

And excited 2 year olds can choke on nuts or similar hard objects.

And I want to impress the other mums at the party (okay, yes, I admit to being a bit of a competitive mum!). So what do I do?

That's when I remembered the 4 step guide to decision making. I used the process to clarify what was important, figure out my alternatives and come up with the best solution.

The result was genius - a regular shop-bought cake kept safe in a homemade chocolate shell, with a mini allergy free version on top. When my 2 year smashed the chocolate shell piñata style, revealing a plethora of sweeties and cake, the "oooohs" from the guests said it all. Problem solved. With style.

Whether it's your work or home life, being good at solving problems makes life a lot more enjoyable.

New or unskilled managers think they have to solve all the problems themselves. Not so. Although it may be daunting, involving the right people in problem solving gets better results. Decision making psychology made simple takes you through the pros and cons of individual versus group decision making, and perhaps persuade you to let go of the reins once in a while and get others to help you out with your problems.

Warm Regards
Lyndsay's Signature
Lyndsay Swinton

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1. Decision Making Psychology Made Simple
Understanding decision making psychology can enable you to reach a conclusion quicker. Whether it's choosing a holiday destination, or project to fund, you'll find this outline of decision making psychology a useful addition to your management toolkit.

2. From Problem To Solution in 4 Steps: Facilitator's Guide to Participatory Decision Making
Got a problem to solve? This facilitator's guide to participatory decision making will get you from problem to solution in 4 steps. With a bit of guidance, groups can effectively evaluate alternative solutions, systematically work out what trade-offs exist and agree a working solution.….


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