'Problem Solving' – the Bailout – What Options were NOT Considered?

September 26th, 2008 by Gallagher John No Comments

To make an understatement, the ‘$700 billion bailout’ has been at the top of the headlines in newspapers, television, and blogs. ‘Do you support it?’, or ‘Do you not support it?’ and ‘Why?’ have been questions asked of politicians, consumers, and friends. It is quite a problem that our economy, and subsequently, our leadership, is facing.

We face problems on a daily basis. We face problems that are on a much smaller scale, but that seem to be as important to us as well. Family, finances, where to eat dinner, etc.!!

In any event, when I solve problems, the key is to always have alternatives. For every problem, there are always multiple solutions. Some better than others. But, the key is to have alternatives. Here is a simple process I use when evaluating a problem:

1) Define the problem in a sentence format.
2) Brainstorm at least 7 possible solutions to the problem. If you can’t think of at least 7 on your own, then ask a confidant, family member, or friend. Two heads are better than one is normally the case in problem solving. But, don’t stop until you have at least 7 options.
NOTE: Doing nothing is normally an option, but RARELY a good option!
3) Ask yourself the question “What options did I not consider?” This will normally generate a few more alternatives.
4) Rank the alternatives against your goal and your values.
5) Do a ‘gut-check’. If it doesn’t feel right, you need to understand why. You may have to go back through steps 2 through 4 again. Trust your instincts. Not your ego, but your instincts!

I am sure there are other ways to solve problems (5-Why’s, 7D, family meeting, etc.). What works for you in business and life?

So, my question for our govenment as they make a decision that ultimately could cost me and my family a lot of money is “What options did you NOT consider?” If I had the confidence that they used a process to come to the answer of a bailout, it would be easier for me to support it, even if I don’t agree with it. (This is an entirely different topic for the future. Supporting a decision even when you don’t agree with it)