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Problem Solving

Got it, or learn it?

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Everyone is born with some kind of ability. Some have more than others, but everyone has at least one. Every now and again we come across the rare person who has the innate ability to think in a very linear way. They can put data and information together quickly, without even knowing how they do it, in order to solve problems that leave the rest of us scratching our heads in wonder.

This kind of thinking is called Critical Thinking – the ability to organize information, structure it in a way that makes sense, and come to a rational conclusion. It is the kind of thinking we teach in Systematic Problem Solving, a methodology for uncovering the root cause, every time, to any problem, regardless of its complexity.

Recently, we were teaching a Systematic Problem Solving class for New Zealand’s Inland Revenue Division – New Zealands’ version of the IRS. The class was a huge success with a great interest in bringing these skills to all of the New Zealand Government.

In the class was a woman who has this innate ability. She had struggled to explain it to everyone who asked, “How did you figure out the problem so quickly?” Her only answer was she couldn’t explain how she solved problems so quickly – this was just how her brain worked.

During the class this woman was able to reach pretty much the same conclusions in her head that the other students reached using our method of comparative analysis.

After the class she reported, “Many people ask me to show them how to “do what I do” and I can’t explain it. I now have a tool I can introduce them to which will take them through a process that I use (without realizing I did).”

She is one of the rare lucky ones who can take complex data, analyze it in her head and reach the correct root cause. Fortunately, for the rest of us, we have Systematic Problem Solving.