Problem Analysis and Decision Making Tools

Program overview:

We are continuously confronted with problems that require us to make decisions. Most decisions are reached without requiring any complex decision-making process: We’re hungry? We decide to eat. Some problems are more complex, like deciding how to prioritize our work, or understanding why a process failed and deciding what to do about it; these require a rational approach to problem-solving. Often, things get even more complicated, or our decisions could have an important impact on our lives, careers, or the lives of those around us; that is where we must have the ability to think critically and make sure there is no flaw in our logic. At other times the problem is so unusual that it defies rational and critical thinking; these are the times where creative problem solving becomes an invaluable tool.

In this course, we will cover all these important thinking approaches. After understanding the thinking mechanisms, we will provide you with methods and tools that you will practice during the sessions and that can help you at work or in life, and from the most mundane situations to the most difficult or unusual ones.

For Whom:

Managers, supervisors, and administrators who will benefit from better problem solving and decision-making skills, and business professionals who want to take their critical thinking to the next level by using both their experience and intuition to make the right moves and decisions

Learning Objectives:

At the end of the programme, participants will be able to:

■ Build and expand decision making, critical thinking, and creative problem-solving skills

■ Apply logical and creative approaches to solving problems and making decisions

■ Use traditional and creative tools for identifying causes and generating solutions

■ Employ creativity and lateral thinking as business tools

■ Analyze and solve actual problems facing them at work

■ Demonstrate and build credibility with upper management

■ Develop strategic approaches to problem-solving and decision making

Course Outline:

Day 1: Problem-solving and decision making

■ Definition of ‘problem’

■ Definition of ‘problem-solving’

■ Definition of ‘decision making’

■ Creative problem solving and decision making

■ The helicopter view

■ Problem diagnosis

■ Defining the opportunity or problem

■ The link between causes and symptoms

■ Problem deviation

■ The right decisions at the right time

Day 2: The rational approach to problem-solving (Kepner & Tregoe)

■ Defining the problem

■ Writing a problem statement

■ Techniques for recognizing problems

■ Six important questions to clear out

■ The rational approach

■ Kepner & Tregoe

Day 3: Problem analysis supplementary tools

■ Root cause analysis

■ Creative problem solving and decision making

■ The five-why process

■ The cause and effect diagram

■ The fishbone diagram

■ Pareto analysis

Day 4: Decision making supplementary tools

■ Effective decision making

■ Why-Why and how-how analysis

■ The how-how method

■ Choice making

■ The decision analysis worksheet

■ The Kepner & Tregoe method for analyzing alternatives

■ Use of the matrix

■ Effective decision making

■ The decision-making matrix

■ Definition of ‘consensus’

Day 5: Creativity and problem solving

■ The need for thinking skills

■ Mental structures of college students

■ Stages in problem-solving and decision making

■ The human brain

■ Understanding the two hemispheres of the brain

■ Critical thinking

■ Lateral thinking

■ Mental blocks to creative thinking

■ Brainstorming

■ The six thinking hats

Training Methodology

Lectures, discussions, exercises, case studies, audio-visual aids will be used to reinforce these teaching/learning methods.