Strategic Decision Making and Problem Solving
We make decisions and solve problems continually. We start making decisions before we even get out of bed (shall I get up now or not?). Sometimes, we will have made as many as 50 decisions by the time we leave for work. Despite all the natural decision making that goes on and the problem solving we do, some people are very uncomfortable with having to make decisions. You may know someone who has a hard time making decisions about what to eat, never mind the internal wrestling they go through in order to take on major decisions at work.
This two-day workshop will teach participants to:
- Apply problem solving steps and tools
- Analyze information to clearly describe problems
- Identify appropriate solutions
- Think creatively and be a contributing member of a problem solving team
- Select the best approach for making decisions
- Create a plan for implementing, evaluating, and following up on decisions
- Avoid common decision-making mistakes
LESSON 1: Course Overview
You will spend the first part of the day getting to know participants and discussing what will take place during the workshop. Students will also have an opportunity to identify their personal learning objectives.
LESSON 2: Definitions
To begin, participants will explore what problem solving and decision making means. They will also learn the eight essentials to defining a problem and apply these concepts to a simple case study.
LESSON 3: Making Decisions
Next, participants will learn about different types of decisions, the difference between facts and information, and common decision making traps such as sampling, bias, and the meaningless difference.
LESSON 4: Getting Real
Next, participants will review their pre-assignment. This will help them evaluate how they currently solve problems.
LESSON 5:The Problem Solving Model
During this session, participants will learn about a three-phase model that they can apply to most problems. They will also have an opportunity to apply the model to two case studies. Introduction into root cause analysis, force field analysis, brainstorming methods such as checkerboard and affinity diagrams. Participants are also introduced to planning implementations using a solution planning worksheet
LESSON 6: Case Study
Students work with probabilities-best/worst consequences and most probable.
LESSON 7: The Problem Solving ToolkitParticipants will learn:
- How to defend problems with logic/justification
- Fishbone analysis (cause mapping)
- Limitations of brainstorming
- To explored steps to take prior to and after brainstorming to ensure that it is a creative process first and a critical process second
- Brain writing
- Mind mapping (similar to an affinity diagram)
LESSON 8: Aspirinia
Next, participants will work through a case study that will help them internalize and apply the concepts learned so far.
LESSON 9: Swotting Up
Solving business problems can be a bit different than everyday dilemmas, so this session will show participants how to use SWOT analysis in their organization.
LESSON 10: Making Good Group Decisions
Introduction to the stepladder technique, the Delphi technique, and the nominal group technique; Fatal mistakes are discussed such as groupthink and fighting the status quo.
LESSON 11: Analyzing and Selecting Solutions
This session will look at the second phase of the problem solving model: making a decision; cost-benefit analysis; deciding needs vs. wants.
LESSON 12: Planning and Organizing
To wrap the course up, participants will learn how to complete the third phase of the problem solving model. Topics will include planning and organizing a solution, completing a follow-up analysis, evaluating results, adapting with change, and celebrating success.
LESSON 13: Workshop Wrap-Up
At the end of the course, students will have an opportunity to ask questions and fill out an action plan.