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What is a Problem?

March 6, 2012

My career is based on solving problems. Also, which is another discussion, my career is based on being a “garbage man,” in the respect of laying the road (strategy and tactics) to move on and ensuring it is free of debris (problems) so my teams can perform without impediments.

All of this necessitated developing a formal in-house training program on problem solving, including identification to audits.  Note, most problems are ultimately not what they seem to be or initially “given” but what is discovered to be “understood.”

The program became a highly useful tool to develop superior products and services ahead of the competition as well as ensuring the project comes in on time and at the right cost and quality.

Ultimately, the program was given to senior management, managers, technical teams and even sales personnel.

The first question asked at the beginning of the course was “give a definition of a “problem.””

Only one person gave the correct definition, according to what Barry Stevens defines as “what is a problem.”

My definition may be challenged but it immediately turned on the light for all attendees and subsequently reduced the learning curve, increased performance and improved morale

I challenge readers to provide their definition of “what is a problem.”

Other than saying the answer is less than one sentence of 15 words.


One Comment leave one →
  1. March 6, 2012 11:59 AM

    PROBLEM: Something that prevents, or delays, or increases the cost of effective forward motion.

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