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Archive for the ‘Problem Solving’ Category

We never have the time to do it right
but always have time to do it over.
Anon

We work as if permanently stuck in high gear. We approach every task, regardless of complexity, with equal obsession for speedy completion. We’ve yet to learn that tasks aren’t all vanilla, some have hard shelled nuts in them.

Ticks of a clock are poor measures of a task. Other measures are: quality or customer satisfaction; cost or savings; teamwork or the simple joy of doing it well; and of course, the cost of doing it over.

The speed at which we can complete a project is defined by the task, not by our need to get it done now, or worse, yesterday. Attempt to push it faster and, like last night’s under cooked chili, it’ll return with a vengeance and holding a grudge.

Cutting corners, increases risk. To afford a task less respect than it deserves, is to invite the attention of Murphy. Time saved when we can’t afford it, extracts too high an interest rate.

Tasks take the time they need, either now… or later, when we really can’t afford it.

A task done carefully, is done faster than the task done over

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Tricks, Traps and Tips for better Problem Solving

Cost: Nada!
Although you’re more than welcome to send me a note of appreciation and/or order some books as a way to support the costs of providing this service.

Where? Head here for all the details.

Summary:
If you work for a living, then you solve problems of all types.This session will explore some simple PS concepts and explain how we can use formal, and informal, PS techniques in every day Life.

Prerequisites:
Peter believes very much in the idea that we learn by doing, more precisely? That we learn by failing at doing.

So??? This presentation WILL be interactive.
1) Make sure you have a deck of playing cards handy.
2) Peter will take ‘questions’ via e-mail as he presents.

Feedback from a similar live session:
Peter … We reviewed the feedback forms this week – of the 90 collected for the Problem Solving sessions, overwhelmingly the ratings were 5s (highest) We summarized the feedback as follows, included member quotes:

‘Over the top’ successful. Very dynamic, excellent speaker.
Members wanted more from Peter; many felt his sessions were too short.
“..energizing & interesting. Very helpful.”
“..too short – was enjoyable & thought provoking!”
“Fabulous, awesome presentation. Great interaction & exercises.
Could have spent the whole afternoon in his session.”
“Excellent session, extremely dynamic presenter! Useful for any level of team member.”
“Peter was the “BEST” part of the day.”
“Please bring Peter back to talk to us.”

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Most ignorance is vincible ignorance:
we don’t know because we don’t want to know.
Aldous Huxley

In all human endeavors there lie risks we don’t want to explore, flaws we’d rather ignore, and conflicts we’d rather avoid. We choose the comfort of deliberate ignorance over the insecurity of uncertain knowledge.

We are all incredibly good at stepping around the things we mustn’t discuss. Irrational actions rule supreme in the face of topics smeared with the taint of taboo.

The solution of course, is to take those lonely and invisible 800 lb gorilla problems and place them in the middle of the table. Shave them naked and paint them a glorious glowing neon pink. Make it so that we’d have to be blind to ignore their presence.

Problems grow stronger in the shade of solitary confinement. They shrivel to a fraction of their size when exposed to those dedicated to finding solutions.

Problems by definition ‘need fixing’… actions that result in conspiracies of deliberate avoidance are counter to intelligence.

From a reluctance to tell a friend they have bad breath, to the corporate wide ‘decision’ to ignore unethical policies… problems gain strength from silence.

The unacknowledged problem is forever unsolvable.

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Don’t fight forces;
Use them.
Buckminster Fuller

Ships sail against the wind, waters behind the dam give it strength, the weight of an arch bestows suspended flight to waves of stone and steel. In all of these, the forces that work against success, are what make it possible.

Physical force has direction and energy, but no motivation or intention. Manipulate what works against you, into working for you.

Our first reaction to any opposing force is to push back, it’s an instinctive, simple, uncomplicated strategy, and this sometimes brings success. We have other options.

In unrelenting heat, ice cold water is scarce, unless you place it in a porous terra-cotta pot. The evaporating droplets create a chill, just as sweat will cool the body. Don’t fight the heat, use it.

The forces we encounter as obstacles to our goals aren’t always physical, sometimes they’re political, spawned of human nature and desire. The advice doesn’t change, don’t fight the forces, use them.

If someone is an expert at finding fault with a project, place them on the project with the task of avoiding fault.

If someone’s ego is in the way of a change, then frame the success to feed the ego.

Make the force be with you…

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Let us endeavor to live
that when we come to die,
even the undertaker will be sorry.
Mark Twain

Each day is a brick to be thrown or build upon. Even at the height of anger we have choices — to defend or to destroy. We choose our roles — protector or protagonist.

Is today a better place, because of actions taken yesterday? Did we roll the rock higher? Did we grow, or were we ground down?

These are simple questions, no less important because of their simplicity. They search for the light that guides us. When every wind is against us, when every path is uphill, what keeps us moving? What makes it all worthwhile?

Or is the secret not to think too much? To let it all just happen and cast our lot into the storm? “Making the world a better place,” is one of the many answers found. Another is: “Take care of those around you.”

The probing question remains… how wide do we cast our net? How large the circle of our friends?

It’s not all chaos. The search, for the reason behind the fury, is the foundation of future progress.

Let our passage turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones.

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We are changing the world faster
than we can change ourselves,
and we are applying to the present
the habits of the past
Winston Churchill

The grand irony is that in learning something new, we have both accepted, and beaten, the challenge of the future. To learn something new, we have likely invested in an old, possibly outmoded, strategy. Each success under our belt, becomes a weight anchoring us to a particular way of doing things, even learning things. Each past achievement, a burden against future progress.

Play a game of chess against an opponent, and with each win based upon a favourite strategy, we become more vulnerable to a change in tactics. Winning in a proven way, is an obstacle to progress.

Our strength lies, not in past success, but in our ability to unshackle ourselves from both losing -and- winning strategies. The first is easy, the second rare. It requires flexibility, a keen sense of judgment and courage.

Flexibility – because a willingness to change, is a prerequisite of change.

Judgment – because knowing when to change, is an art, not a science.

Courage – because we could be wrong, and must accept risk in order to achieve success.

Nothing remains the same, not even the steps towards success.

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My greatest strength as a consultant
is to be ignorant
and ask a few questions.
Peter Drucker

If there’s one thing there’s no shortage of, it’s ignorance. We’re surrounded by it. Saturated with it. Ignorance by its nature crowds out reason, commonsense and understanding.

Yet we seem to accept it as normal. We’re apparently willing to live with it. We fail to seize the opportunity to ask these questions which could dispel it:

Why do we do it this way?
Why do we believe this to be true?
Why can’t we change the rules?
Why must we do this at all?

These are the world wrecking questions. These are the queries that challenge, and can shatter, the Status Quo.

They’re also the simple questions available to anyone (with enough courage) in every situation. They raise the specter that things need not be as we’ve accepted them.

Nor is the question ‘Why?’ beyond our scope. It’s perhaps the only strength we share regardless of upbringing or social standing. From our first days of speech we ask ‘Why?’ … and at some point we stop. Why?

We’re born with the urge to ask ‘Why?’, when we lose it, we begin to die.

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