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Problem-Solving is Just RDGCIE

I have been doing a lot of reading lately and twice in the past couple of weeks I have come across references to "problem-solving formula."

My first reaction was surprise because these are new books and I was under the impression that the word "problem" had gone the way of the dodo bird and we now identify situations of a problematic nature as "a challenge." I may be the only one hung up on this but I still think that when someone shows up and says "I have a problem" it seems more emphatic than "we have a challenge."

That aside, challenges are part of daily life. What I learned early on in my career is that most people are not taught how to use a standard process to solve a variety of situations in which solutions are imperative. The unfortunate truth is that without a problem-solving formula many things that could be addressed start to spin out of control and bigger situations arise.


The problem-solving strategy I learned many (many) years ago goes like this: Recognize that something is not working, Define what it is, Generate some options to address the problem, Choose an option, Implement it, Evaluate the result.

There are several critical steps to this process that need attention in order to achieve the best outcomes.

The recognition step seems to be the big hurdle for some people. They can't solve the problem because they don't know they have one. However, once the light goes on, there is the really critical piece of defining the problem. This is trickier than you might think, especially when someone else is involved. You may not see things the same way. If the problem is not defined accurately, this can put everything that follows on the wrong path.

But, once you have an issue that seems to be the right one, the next step is to open your mind to all possible ways of addressing this issue. It is important not to restrain yourself from adding possibilities to the list because they seem to be a long shot or you reject them as not workable. This brainstorming is part of opening yourself up to all the options at hand.

At this point, you need to choose one that looks like it could work. Try it out and see what happens. Hopefully you have picked a good one and, once you evaluate the result, you will know whether the problem is solved or if you have to try something else. If so, go back to your list of options and try another strategy that looks promising.

Using a standard method to solving our problems on a regular basis has residual benefits. We become accountable for the part that we play in each situation and, the more accountable we become, the greater our quality of life. Once you gain control of your life, your choices will multiply.

Try the RDGCIE method and let me know how it works for you.