Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sharpen Your Problem-Solving Skill

Our work world is becoming ever more complex as we work in teams and problem-solve continuing workplace issues. Even our personal lives are complex. In facing problems, it is baffling why some of us can see them coming, and can diffuse them off, while others stay mired in a constant web of distress.

Although we avoid looking for trouble, we often wish we could be better at avoiding it before they appear as full-blown issues that we must cope with.

Unfortunately, we can stay locked into an analytical mode, do not recognize situational patterns, and miss the point. We become so engrossed with scrutinizing details that we fail to see the big picture. Missing clues that are obvious to others, we stumble along.

Concurrently, this is detrimental to our image and future as we can become pigeonholed at a particular skill level in our work.

It all boils down to having an ability to intuitively spot patterns going amiss with our work and daily life situations. How can we do this?

We need to reflect and understand our own mental machine and our information processing capability. It lies in our ability to encode right-brain patterns quickly and then recognize tell-tale signs of irregularities. This is referred to how "we see into situations," or “getting it,” and you probably know if you are adept in this area.

What can we do to see into situations with their web of inherent difficulties? We can become aware of insightful patterns and improve our encoding ability for spotting pattern breaks which alerts us that something is amiss.

What is a pattern break?

A “pattern break” is something different in routine thoughts, body language, wording, speech, routines, actions, individual’s appearances, or expressions. When you see something differently than expected, or out of the norm, you must become aware of your insightful realizations, and put yourself on “alert,” and react accordingly.

Avoiding Problems at Work: Observe the team members you work with. What are their attitudes, values, and hidden agendas? Are they sincere? What does their body language indicate? Do they appear positive and offer honest opinions? Are their contributions valuable to the project? Or, are they convoluted and too complex to be practical? Will their input create complications?

What are the drawbacks?

Do you see their work favorably, creatively, with an open mind? How does the team compliment each other in terms of work quality and input? How will I react to an impending obstacle? Will I remain level headed, as I notice irregularities? Can I systematically solve them by smoothing out the missing links?

Avoiding Problems at Home, ask yourself: Am I taking time to participate and listen to family members? Do I spend too much time "in my own world?" When I see a bad situation, can I work through it systematically, noting the attitude and reaction along the way? Do I hastily react, creating a deeper abyss of trouble? Am I willing to compromise and work the problem out before it intensifies?

Avoiding your Personal Problems, ask yourself: Do I continuously make the same mistakes, because I do not recognize self-destructive patterns? If I do recognize them, am I unwilling to change the pattern because it has become a habit (like smoking or drinking alcohol excessively)?

How to practice and speed up your encoding of patterns:

1. Learn a foreign language -- practice new vocabulary words with a tape recorder as a response system. Speaking creates sound patterns that activate the brain.

2. Learn to play a new musical instrument. Musical notes are symbolic patterns. Reading music involves rapidly encoding notes while scanning the measures and phrasing. It is excellent brain exercise.

3. Try repairing or installing something mechanical. Note the design or maintenance patterns. Many of us dislike and avoid reading technical manuals. However, noting technical patterns, as on Smart Phones, is good encoding practice.

Becoming aware of the evolving patterns in our world will keep us sensitive to things that are out of kilter and which create problems that we can do without.

No comments: