January 25th, 2011
I was recently asked:
Are you familiar with/well practiced at the Kepner Tregoe problem solving and decision making process (KT)? Please briefly elaborate.
[I responded with the following:]
At the risk of sounding arrogant, which is something I prefer not to do, I consider myself a consummate creative problem solver and a systematic, fair-minded decision maker. The real trick of it all is not to create any new problems while solving others. Ultimately, when faced with any problem, a truthful, viable, and feasible solution that reflects the utmost of technical integrity is what I seek to resolve the difficulty.
Whenever possible, I always strive to achieve ‘win-win’ solutions for all parties involved – even when faced with others who have no knowledge of ‘win-win’ possibilities or prefer/tend to deny any possible ‘win-win’ outcome of any given situation. Regardless, I am a steadfast believer in the importance of proper communication. I enjoy debating topics with others. I try to enlighten and productively persuade others. I prefer open-minded individuals over closed-minded ones. When working as a member of a team, I make a concerted effort to let all team members contribute to the task at hand – in their own fashion, if need be. I rarely, if ever, hold a grudge against anyone. Conversely, I often play ‘devil’s advocate’ concerning nearly any issue in an effort to better any necessary solution.
Consequently, I consider myself an expert at problem definition/analysis efforts – be they actual problems or potential problems and regardless of whether they are of a technical or interpersonal nature. In the end, I always strive to effect meaningful and feasible solutions that survive into the distant future. Along the way, I enjoy breaking-down problems and analyzing all potential variables that might be present. I tend to dislike and distrust any assumptions and I greatly enjoy nonstop brainstorming. As such, I am competent at correcting problems and installing/implementing solutions. Throughout the effort I continually assess and reassess the process and the outcome as necessary. I always consider Return On Investment (ROI) of decisions and life cycle costing of capital investments and improvements (and IRR and NPV, too). Every effort also must pass a simplistic real-world sanity check while being scrutinized for value-added. Furthermore, ethical actions and safety concerns are always paramount throughout any undertakings or efforts. As such, I am never perturbed by supervisory involvement or lack thereof. I am confident that I perform these problem-solving and decision-making initiatives equally well when working as a team member and also when working solo.
While this problem-solving and decision-making process may seem drawn-out or vague and even haphazard or random, such is not the case. Not at all. Problem solving is [almost always] a simplistic and systematic process, albeit possibly an iterative, consuming and involved process at times – depending on the circumstances. Such a systematic and straight-forward process is regardless of the complexity of the problem or the intricacy of the preferred solution/decision – politics and resources potentially withstanding, of course, depending on the environment, situation, and personalities involved. However, when the process functions properly and a ‘win-win’ outcome reflecting fairness, integrity, and truth is attained: the environment, the difficulty, and the situation are all, in fact, nearly and typically irrelevant to the problem-solving and decision-making process.
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Had I have known that I could rival Princeton professors with such an answer, or possibly made myself rich or famous with such a process, I may have written this particular blog entry much sooner. :) As might be apparent to some, what I have done here is to take what is claimed to be the Kepner Tregoe (KT) problem solving and decision making process and expanded it. What you might find here in The Adam Vernon Trotter Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Process includes much of what might be included in the common-sense KT Process with additional facets which I do not believe are addressed by the KT process.
Adam Vernon Trotter, P.E. / AVT
The Adam Vernon Trotter Theory of Business Management, located at