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Problem Statement: Approach to Making Smart Choices

Anthonia Nnabuko Written by Anthonia Nnabuko · 2 min read >


Decision taken is an event while decision making is a process. A process that helps you realize your thought process. Smart choices are made after thorough analysis of the situation. Ask and answer: what, where, how, who, when and why? A good problem statement should take note of the gaps. It should be quantifiable even if it cannot be rightly measured. Be as neutral as possible in your problem statement with zero emotions. As a result, no decision is made right from stating the problem. Give room for more information process to avoid emotions clouding judgment. Let’s consider how to identify, frame and form problem statements. This is because it helps make better decision. Better decision brings better solution to organizational problems.

Identifying Problems

In making effective decision, it is key to work in the right decision problem. What does the problem aim to achieve? What do you want to decide on? The way you frame your question from the onset makes all the difference. Problem framing is the diagnosis before the process to fix it. This mean that before problems are solved, it must be framed in context. Know the problem and identify possible causes before finding solution. Give the problem statement meaning, suggest possible causes which can help point in the direction of potential remedies. When problems occur, our brains automatically find meaning to make sense of it. Your interpretation of the problem gives you entities that can be used to make sense of the situation.

Framing Problems

Problem framing helps focus on a particular aspect of a situation. It helps decision makers draw lines of inference and suppositions. Yes, problem framing or deciding which is the problem can be difficult because of biases, traps, conflicting evidence, and emotions. Ability to make a balance between data and judgment can be very difficult as well. Framing a problem is what medical practitioners call ‘diagnosis’ before proffering solution. Problems framed gives it meaning, it suggests possible causes and it points in direction of potential solutions. You may need to play out the rest of the story in your head, this doesn’t mean decision making. Try to connect the frames. Have a sense of purpose. Make findings and have conversations that help make better problem statement. Problem statement must be clear, concise, and accurate based on the evidence (information) received or acquired. As a result, your problem statement becomes framed.

Formulating Problems

Forming a problem statement can be tedious especially when the case is with lots of problems. What is the exact problem you are trying to solve? For example, you identified five problems, ask yourself if the problems listed are not embedded in another. Problem statement should be as clear as possible. It must reference something the organization cares about. So, it should be neutral as regards the situations and diagnosis. A good problem statement should be simple and sufficient in scope. Something you can tackle. It should contain a clear gap between the current and the goal to achieve.

Stating Problems

Some questions required before deciding on your problem statement. What is the root cause of the problem? What is the information related to risks, cost, and benefits? In understanding the problem better, you, gather information. Investigate, and analyze all relevant data given. In the data, identify shortcomings, dissatisfactions, and deficiencies. Ask questions and be observant. Talk to people involved with the problem. Do thorough investigation before deciding on the problem statement. If all you have are documents and nobody to talk to, analyze the documents properly before deciding on problem statement. So as to come forth with a clear problem statement, take action on the above. This is the genesis to effective decision making, we will expatiate on more as time goes on, enjoy the rest of your day.

Written by Anthonia Nnabuko
Jesus' Princess (takes God personal), addicted foodie, loves to make people happy, adventurous, HR Professional, lover of pictures Profile

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