First Step In Problem Solving

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Start breaking down the problem into subcomponents.

When you fix a symptom, the root problem doesn't go away--it simply manifests as a new symptom. Once you've looked through different lenses and found root causes, you should have a clearly defined problem.

All of us have solved a symptom without curing the real disease.

Once you've constructed a full list of hypotheses that could solve all the issues, you need to prioritize your efforts.

This doesn’t necessarily require some brilliant flash of insight — there are simple tools that you can apply to nail down what’s going wrong.

You can start, for example, by determining what IS and IS NOT true compared to other problems you face.

It’s just that, often, the first time we accurately describe a problem is when we explain it to someone else.

When we’re just talking to ourselves, we tend to shortchange ourselves and work with a simplified (and, usually, inaccurate) description of the problem.

The revenue side breaks down further into price and volume issues.

For example, your profit problem breaks down into revenue issues and cost issues.


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