Two Situations Move Leaders to Action - Inspiration or Desperation

Jun 17, 2015 7:52:00 PM

Which one are you?  The challenge in most organizations today is the lack of efficient and capable problem solvers. Problems are caused by either a combination of three components, namely: People, Process and Communications. When crisis or major issues occur in large organizations, blame game is not uncommon. Hence don’t fire or change your staff, but change the way they think and ask questions.

Inspire your IT workforce by insisting and assisting every one of them to become a proficient problem solver, able to solve incidents and problems quickly, accurately and permanently at source. 

Does your staff actually know how to think through a problem…and to make sure it doesn’t re-occur? Can they explain themselves and their solutions to you or to their colleagues in a reasoned manner? Are you tired of listening to best guesses, hunches or costly trial and error explanations? If so, turn your frustration into inspiration. 

Equip your staff with the ability to approach and solve problems like a professional. Most job requirements today list “problem solving” as a necessary skill. It is a simple but powerful requirement. But problem solving is no longer taught in our educational system, not even at engineering school. Google rules! You could unleash a wave of professional problem solvers to resolve nagging, recurring and seemingly unsolvable daily issues, quickly and permanently. We have helped numerous IT leaders across the globe implement and train a comprehensive problem solving practice and skill set across their staff.

Here are some of the documented results:


  1. It gave the ordinary IT professional the confidence to solve issues in the presence of others. They knew how to approach the problem situation and used a common template to guide the information processing during the problem solving meeting. The result was that these common skills were used more frequently and improved the quality of analyses markedly.
  1. It helped the investigation teams to determine which information during the investigation was relevant and which was irrelevant. It guided them as to which questions to ask of which information source to ensure they extracted the correct information. No complaints about “lack of info” or “information overload". This provided speed and removed confusion often experienced with many stakeholders contributing to problem solving sessions.
  1. Each person acquired the ability to “think through” a structured problem solving process. This enhanced the application of their technical knowledge and experience as well as harnessing the “squeaky wheel” and “pet theory” syndromes. The combination of resident expertise knowledge and experience coupled with a “structured process” optimized resolution time. 
  1. Staff members understood the difference between a technical cause and a root cause. This distinction makes for a substantial difference in getting to the restoration action and then to the root cause of a problem situation quickly and effectively. Everyone understood the need to find the technical cause first before searching for the underlying root cause.
  1. Common templates and a common language built a “collaboration bridge” between cross-functional silos. It became normal practice to reach out to SME’s outside one’s own department (silo). Extract information by asking very specific a series of interrogative questions saved everybody time and ensured progress toward resolution. The result was that SME’s were used more effectively and did not spend countless hours in fruitless meetings.


Imagine what the above practices will do to the productivity, meaningfulness and empowerment of your IT staff?


  • Knowing which thinking approach to use for different types of problems
  • Knowing who to identify as your critical information sources
  • Knowing which questions to ask to expedition analysis
  • Knowing how to analyze the information extracted
  • Knowing what information can be ignored as irrelevant
  • Knowing how to test the theories and hypotheses logically
  • Knowing how to get the investigation team to agree on next steps with full consensus


This is the kind of culture you would be able to create for your staff to make them much more valuable to your operations and obviously more highly motivated. Inspired yet?

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Topics: leadership

Mat-thys Fourie

Written by Mat-thys Fourie

Washington, DC, United States | Founder & Chairman of Thinking Dimensions Global
Mr. Fourie is a thought leader on how IT professionals apply Incident Investigation techniques on a repeatable and sustainable basis within their organizations. His strength lies in customizing and embedding the various techniques within existing CSI, Incident and Problem Management practices.


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