Posts tagged: problem solving

Visionary Leadership, Capability Development and Resource Utilization

By , May 12, 2008 12:57 am

Now this is a well-known time management matrix many people use to manage their daily tasks.

Urgent Not Urgent
Important
  • Crises
  • Pressing problems
  • Deadlines
  • Prevention
  • Capability Enhancement
  • Relationship Building
  • Recognizing Opportunities
  • Planning
Not Important
  • Interruptions, some calls
  • Some emails, some reports
  • Some meetings
  • Trivia
  • Some emails
  • Some phone calls
  • Some chats
  • Time wasters

***

Using this table, the first step many people take would likely be neglecting Not-Important trivia and spending efforts on Important-Urgent matters. And so these matters grow. The problems get bigger and bigger and all energy will be used to manage problems and deadlines.

Urgent Not Urgent
Important
  • Crises management
  • Problems management
  • Deadlines management
Not Important

***

How about Important but Not-Urgent endeavors?

They may never get done since Important-Urgent are consuming all the time and energy.

But it’s Important + Non-Urgent matters that make the difference. They are usually long-term vision, planning, expectation management, capabilities enhancement, maintenance and opportunity realization.

Urgent Not Urgent
Important
  • Vision
  • Planning
  • Expectation management
  • Capabilities enhancement
  • Maintenance
  • Opportunity realization
Not Important

Focusing on Important + Non-Urgent issues is opportunity-minded, more than sheer problem-solving-minded.

***

How to focus on Important and Non-Urgent matters

Neglecting Non-Important requires some techniques:

  • Say ‘No’ to trivia
  • Tell the phone caller you’re busy and will call back
  • Check emails at fixed times and solve all unread emails all at once. Of course, in some conditions you’re required to open email application but if not, consider not letting it disturb your concentration

But then to avoid falling into pressing matters and to focus on Important but Non-Urgent matters requires more than techniques.

It requires vision, imagination, desire, discipline, commitment, and balance.

Vision

You need to have clear visions of your life. Where do you see yourself in 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, at 60, till the rest of your life?

Many industries change dramatically, but organization doesn’t change that much. Societies evolve rapidly, but many social values don’t change as fast.

Have your vision.

Because without visions it’s easy to get lost in circles of life and even trapped in your own decisions.

Imagination

To be able to build visions, imagination is crucial. You can imagine how and what you will be doing towards your goals of life. Then how and what you will be doing after accomplishing certain milestones of your life.

Desire

Have had a vision? Desire it with all you’ve got. Desire is different from greed.

Desiring a vision keeps you on-track and over temptations on the way.

Discipline

Following a vision requires high discipline. Almost no one but you yourself keep track of your progress, so fit yourself in your schedule.

A plan without deadlines is no plan.

Commitment

Even higher than discipline, it requires commitment. Commitment to your vision, your values, your goals, your targets. Commitment to what’re truly important to you in the long run.

Balance

Persistently following a vision is painful and it’s easy to be off-tracked or lured by temptations.

Mental and physical balance should be met for you to always focus.

***

On Organization level

I’ve discussed leadership and capability development on individual (or personal) level.

The same principles apply for organizational leadership.

Leadership is different from management is that leadership points out the direction and builds up long-term capabilities to reach the goals.

Spending efforts on strategic planning, developing capabilities reduces risks and put crises under control.

Take one example in Human Resource. It’s wise to develop some practices:

  • Develop the skills of resources, both for immediate tasks and long-term development business needs
  • Encourage self-learning
  • Backup and rotate resources
  • Utilize the right person with the right skill for the right job

***

Conclusion

This articles encourages shifting the focus from Urgency to Importance which, if done, can create positive energy in your life and/or your organization.

Visionary Leadership, Capability Development and Resource Utilization

By , May 6, 2008 12:57 am

Now this is a well-known time management matrix many people use to manage their daily tasks.

  Urgent Not Urgent
Important
  • Crises
  • Pressing problems
  • Deadlines
  • Prevention
  • Capability Enhancement
  • Relationship Building
  • Recognizing Opportunities
  • Planning
Not Important
  • Interruptions, some calls
  • Some emails, some reports
  • Some meetings
  • Trivia
  • Some emails
  • Some phone calls
  • Some chats
  • Time wasters

***

Using this table, the first step many people take would likely be neglecting Not-Important trivia and spending efforts on Important-Urgent matters. And so these matters grow. The problems get bigger and bigger and all energy will be used to manage problems and deadlines.

  Urgent Not Urgent
Important
  • Crises management
  • Problems management
  • Deadlines management
 
Not Important    

***

How about Important but Not-Urgent endeavors?

They may never get done since Important-Urgent are consuming all the time and energy.

But it’s Important + Non-Urgent matters that make the difference. They are usually long-term vision, planning, expectation management, capabilities enhancement, maintenance and opportunity realization.

  Urgent Not Urgent
Important  
  • Vision
  • Planning
  • Expectation management
  • Capabilities enhancement
  • Maintenance
  • Opportunity realization
Not Important    

Focusing on Important + Non-Urgent issues is opportunity-minded, more than sheer problem-solving-minded.

***

How to focus on Important and Non-Urgent matters

Neglecting Non-Important requires some techniques:

  • Say ‘No’ to trivia
  • Tell the phone caller you’re busy and will call back
  • Check emails at fixed times and solve all unread emails all at once. Of course, in some conditions you’re required to open email application but if not, consider not letting it disturb your concentration

But then to avoid falling into pressing matters and to focus on Important but Non-Urgent matters requires more than techniques.

It requires vision, imagination, desire, discipline, commitment, and balance.

Vision

You need to have clear visions of your life. Where do you see yourself in 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, at 60, till the rest of your life?

Many industries change dramatically, but organization doesn’t change that much. Societies evolve rapidly, but many social values don’t change as fast.

Have your vision.

Because without visions it’s easy to get lost in circles of life and even trapped in your own decisions.

Imagination

To be able to build visions, imagination is crucial. You can imagine how and what you will be doing towards your goals of life. Then how and what you will be doing after accomplishing certain milestones of your life.

Desire

Have had a vision? Desire it with all you’ve got. Desire is different from greed.

Desiring a vision keeps you on-track and over temptations on the way.

Discipline

Following a vision requires high discipline. Almost no one but you yourself keep track of your progress, so fit yourself in your schedule.

A plan without deadlines is no plan.

Commitment

Even higher than discipline, it requires commitment. Commitment to your vision, your values, your goals, your targets. Commitment to what’re truly important to you in the long run.

Balance

Persistently following a vision is painful and it’s easy to be off-tracked or lured by temptations.

Mental and physical balance should be met for you to always focus.

***

On Organization level

I’ve discussed leadership and capability development on individual (or personal) level.

The same principles apply for organizational leadership.

Leadership is different from management is that leadership points out the direction and builds up long-term capabilities to reach the goals.

Spending efforts on strategic planning, developing capabilities reduces risks and put crises under control.

Take one example in Human Resource. It’s wise to develop some practices:

  • Develop the skills of resources, both for immediate tasks and long-term development business needs
  • Encourage self-learning
  • Backup and rotate resources
  • Utilize the right person with the right skill for the right job

***

Conclusion

This articles encourages shifting the focus from Urgency to Importance which, if done, can create positive energy in your life and/or your organization.

Problem-Solving Tools Series: Risk Analysis

By , February 1, 2008 4:28 pm

Risk Analysis

Category: Analysis

How to use

Risk Analysis

Risk = probability of event x cost of event

Write down answers to the following questions:

Identify Threats

Threats may include:

  • Human
  • Procedure: internal system, organization
  • Nature: weather, disaster, disease, accident
  • Technology: technical failure
  • Politics: tax, public opinion, policy
  • Project:budget, time
  • Finance: stock, business failure, interest rates
  • Others

Estimate Risk

By using formula based on key indicators

Prioritize the risks and create risk management plan.

Managing Risk

Select a cos-effective approach.

Risks can be managed by:

  • Using existing assets
  • Using contingency planning: choose to accept a risk, but develop a plan to minimize its effects
  • Investing in new resources

Advantage

Risks analysis allows you to examine the risks that you or your organization faces in a structured approach. It focuses on probability and cost of events occurring.

Risk analysis forms the basis for risk management.

Previous volumes of the series

  1. Introduction
  2. Reversal
  3. Appreciation
  4. Drill Down
  5. SWOT Analysis

Problem-Solving Tools Series: SWOT Analysis

By , February 1, 2008 4:03 pm

SWOT Analysis

Category: Analysis

How to use

SWOT Analysis

Write down answers to the following questions:

Strength

  • What are your advantages?
  • What do you do well?
  • What do other people see as your strengths?

Weaknesses

  • What could you improve?
  • What do you do badly?
  • What should you avoid?

Opportunities

  • Where are the good opportunities facing you?
  • What are the interesting trends you are aware of?
  • Note: useful opportunities can come from things such as:
    • Changes in technology
    • Changes in market
    • Changes in policy
    • Changes in social patterns, lifestyle

Threats

  • What obstacles do you face?
  • What are your competitors doing?
  • Is changing conditions threatening your position?
  • Do you have cash flow problems?

Advantage

This tool helps you focus on your strengths, minimize your weaknesses, and take advantage of opportunities available.

Previous volumes of the series

  1. Introduction
  2. Reversal
  3. Appreciation
  4. Drill Down

Problem-Solving Tools Series: Drill Down

By , January 31, 2008 4:01 pm

Drill Down

Category: Decomposition

How to use

Write the problem. Next, write the next level detail on the problem. Recursively break down each item into details.

Example

A restaurant quality problem can be broken down:

Drill down of a problem

Advantage

This tool helps you break down a complex problem into workable pieces.

Previous volumes of the series

  1. Introduction
  2. Reversal
  3. Appreciation

Problem-Solving Tools Series: Appreciation

By , January 31, 2008 3:48 pm

Appreciation

Category: Creativity

How to use

Staring with a fact, ask the question “So what?”. Keep on asking until all possible inferences have been drawn.

Example

Fact: the scope expands and we are lacking a resource for the newly discovered functionalities.

  • So what? We might need overtime to meet deadline.
  • So what? We will be tired.
  • So what? Moral will be affected.
  • So what? More mistakes may be caused.
  • So what? Product quality will be affected.
  • So what? Less return from customer.
  • So what? Moral even deeply sinks.
  • So what? Attrition.
  • So what? Chaos
  • So what? To control this, shadow resources and resource backup must be planned.

Advantage

This tool helps extract maximum information from original facts. More information can be used to solve the problem.

Previous volumes of the series

  1. Introduction
  2. Reversal

Problem-Solving Tools Series: Reversal

By , January 29, 2008 1:47 pm

Reverse

Reversal Questions

Category: Improve, Creativity

How to use

As the opposite of the question we want to ask.

Example

You want to improve the readership of your blog.

You would ask: “What drives readers away from your blog?”

Possible answers may include:

  • Use language that is hard to read
  • Less SEO
  • Hard navigation
  • Confusing headlines
  • etc.

After asking and answering such question, you have an action plan to fix and prevent failures.

Previous volumes of the series

  1. Introduction

Problem-Solving Tools Series: Introduction

By , January 29, 2008 12:30 pm

Introduction

In this series I will introduce different tools that can be used in problem solving situations.

They belong to different categories such as: creativity, understanding complex situations, decision making, planning and self-management.

I also plan to discuss how sufficient these tools are in managing tasks (products) and people (organization).

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