If problems weren’t problematic enough, it seems there is a prerequisite to solving them that many of us are unaware of. The first step of problem-solving should be to determine whether an intuitive or methodical approach is more appropriate.
With the ability to differentiate between the two, a leader can choose the better route to tackle diverse obstacles and overcome them quickly and effectively. Learn how with this quick guide:
Intuitive Problem Solving
Intuitive problem solving is based on intuition, which is generally the brain’s ability to deduce conclusions based on emotions and learned experiences. Because there is no external influence while the process occurs within the mind, the route to the conclusion is a one-way street. There is no exact procedure, either, as no two people think exactly alike.
The advantage of intuitive thinking is that it is lightning fast. Intuitive thinkers are also usually in tune with the feelings of others, which increases the likelihood of a widely acceptable result. Ironically, intuitive problem-solving falters when it comes to group discussions – the individual’s mental process can seem haphazard to everyone else and instigate conflict.
Methodical Problem Solving
Methodical problem solving, also known as rational problem solving, is as orderly as it sounds. The process involves a step-by-step consideration of facts and evidence and the logical conclusions to which they lead. It is, or should be, the same regardless of whether employed by an individual or group of people.
That inherent consistency is the methodical approach’s biggest strength. It allows a large group of people to follow reason and arrive at the same conclusion to complex problems. On the other hand, it can seem unnecessarily long-winded to an individual and is rarely the first option when assessing an issue on one’s own.
Workplace Application of Intuitive and Methodical Problem Solving
It may seem that the logical – and perhaps only – approach is to use intuitive problem solving as an individual and the methodical alternative at a group discussion. Generally, that is a safe assumption but the astute leader knows that it is better to pick the best of each world for the best results.
Certainly, follow the methodical approach when explaining your conclusions at each step of the process. However, also remember that people are complex creatures – what is “logical” is not necessarily the most favored option.
An example would be a $1,000 smartphone. If phone manufacturers created their products based simply on reason, they would be far less costly. However, marketing executives apply their emotional understanding to a pricing discussion. They conclude that the price exclusivity factor appeals at an emotional level to their target demographic and will perhaps improve rather than discourage sales.
As an individual, don’t completely forsake methodical reasoning, either. While your instincts may be right on the mark, use step-by-step logical reasoning to buttress your opinion. In the workplace, it is a helpful way to build consensus and demonstrate to others that your natural talents are aligned with proven methods.
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