No Problem

Lowy, Alex
August 2007
No Problem - Business Book Summaries;2007, Vol. 1 Issue 1, p1
Book Summary
Problem-solving models are not new. However, they can be complex, with unclear techniques and methods that may not actually help people define a problem, and then recognize the habits and patterns that can get in the way of clear thinking. The inability to distinguish between the types and levels of problems is one of the greatest barriers to solving those problems. In No Problem, author Alex Lowy notes that problems differ in both complexity and uncertainty. As these conditions increase, people move from decisions to problems to dilemmas. This book guides readers to make decisions, solve problems, and manage and exploit dilemmas to their advantage. In many cases, organizations can turn around massive losses as a result. Decisions involve choosing among known options. In situations where the data and options are not enough for individuals to make a decision, then it's useful to seek opinions from others and ponder over any unarticulated views which may not have surfaced. If, at this point, after other options have failed to result in a decision, it is likely that people are facing a problem or dilemma. Problems are barriers to achieving valued outcomes. The goal is to remove the barrier. Defining the problem is essential, focusing on underlying factors rather than on superficial ones. Therefore, it is often useful to apply a systematic approach to challenge assumptions. A dilemma involves a situation where problem resolution is unlikely. With dilemmas, there is no way to know in advance what will happen once it is addressed. However, responding to dilemmas encourages people to gain insight and take action, whereas a bad situation will usually get worse if it's not attended to, and will result in others feeling frustrated and powerless. Recognizing decisions, problems, and dilemmas is a crucial skill that enables people to choose the right problem-solving method. Decisions need to be made. Problems need to be solved, and dilemmas need to be managed and exploited. Those who develop the skill to face problems whenever they surface, and routinely do this well, exhibit flexibility, resourcefulness, confidence, and proactivity.


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