Sunday, April 28, 2013

Are you a rational or intuitive problem solver?

For carrying any problem can be done by either adopting rational thinking or with an intuitive thinking process.

According to Brian Tracy, author of "How the best Leaders lead" - "Your entire success as a person and a leader is determined by your ability to solve problems effectively and well. Whatever title is written on your business card, your real job is problem solver"

Rational problem Solving Technique:

Brian Tracy suggests 10 steps for rational problem solving:

1. Define the problem
2. Ask yourself, What else is problematic?
3. Restate the problem in a way that is clear and helpful in solving the problem
4. Determine all possible causes of the problem
5. Determine a variety of possible solutions
6. Decide which solution to try first
7. Assign responsibility for the solution
8. Set a timeline
9. Implement the plan
10. Evaluate the outcome. If the problem isn't solved, go back to the first step.

This is analytic, deliberate, conscious and cyclic process.

In this methodology, it is important to take a decision on a particular solution based on information collected to act upon. If the action doesn't result in a solution, it still helps to gain information that may ultimately lead to a solution

"A weak solution vigorously carried out is usually better than a excellent solution weakly pursued" - By George S Patton, as quoted by Tracy.

The classic example is Bill Gates...who has used the rational style of the problem solving in leading Microsoft.

Intuitive Problem Solving Technique:

It is an automatic thinking process. It can produce "aha" moments for people how prefer it and are familiar with using it. 

The genius of Steve Jobs have been viewed by many and also in his biography by Walter Isaacson as a intuitive problem solver whose success was based on his unique style of thinking. He did different acquisitions, birth of Pixar Animation, birth of Mac and all his "i" inspired products (iTune, iPhone, iPad....) are based on his intuitive vision.

How does intuitive Problem solving work? 

1. Ponder the problem as a question in your mind during a quite routine time, such as before bedtime, on a walk or run, in the shower or when you doing some systemic chore like folding laundry.

2. Leave the question alone - unanalyzed and untouched.

3. Pay attention to dreams and random thoughts so when the answer pops into your mind you will see or hear it. 

4. Seek new experiences, such as starting a new hobby, making a new friend or talking a different route to work.

5. Engage in brief meditation. It enhances the  intuitive problem solving process.

In end up solving it with "eureka" moment either from a gut feeling or in middle of night you will get a vision or just while talking with your close partner/team or by your creativeness feeder.

An example that we all can relate to is "House, MD. (Hugh Laurie)" from the award winning medical fiction TV serial . He is a genius Doctor but does not follow rational path to diagnose and get a solution to a death nearing disease. He exactly follows to above intuitive process mentioned and guides his team through it. It surely seems eccentric to some who believes in book way of figuring out a cause of disease or medication for disease. Instead keeps all solution open on table, focuses intuitive process and thinking out of the box because obvious course of action does not help any how.

"I get anxious about a lot of things, that's the trouble. I get anxious about everything. I just can't stop thinking about things all the time. And here's the really destructive part - it's always retrospective. I waste time thinking of what I should have said or done." -- Hugh Laurie

Picture Credit:

I certainly believe in intuitive problem solving technique to get a visionary ideas, solution and breakthrough diagnosis which may not be then possible with rational solving process.

Roopak Desai

- This article has been inspired by Brian Tracy book "How the Best Leaders Lead" and article in Toastmasters International Magazine by Judith C. Tingely, DTM, Ph.D

No comments: