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Building Leadership Skills: Problem-Solving and Decision-Making

Building Leadership Skills: Problem-Solving and Decision-Making. An Infopeople Workshop Presented by Joan Frye Williams www.jfwilliams.com. Not All Decisions Require Equal Attention. Decision Insurance. Define the problem Gather additional data Lay it all out Identify your options

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Building Leadership Skills: Problem-Solving and Decision-Making

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  1. Building Leadership Skills:Problem-Solving and Decision-Making An Infopeople Workshop Presented by Joan Frye Williams www.jfwilliams.com

  2. Not All Decisions Require Equal Attention

  3. Decision Insurance • Define the problem • Gather additional data • Lay it all out • Identify your options • Evaluate your options • Make your decision • Move forward

  4. Step #1:Define the Problem • What? • Where? • How? • When? • With whom? • Why?

  5. For a Complex Problem • Break it down • Verify with others • Prioritize

  6. Describe the Desired Outcome(s) Define the solved state: Here’s what should be happening…

  7. Identify Specific, Measurable Goals What are we trying to • Achieve? • Preserve? • Avoid? • Eliminate?

  8. Link Back to the Big Picture Make sure your desired outcomes align clearly with the library’s mission and strategic plan

  9. Reality Check:Decision Politics • Who are the stakeholders in this situation? • What will they need to get out of any decision? • How and when should they participate in finding a solution?

  10. Step #2:Gather Additional Data • Broad • Objective • Verifiable • Relevant

  11. Beware • Hearsay/rumor • Opinion • Wishful thinking • Labeling the problem • Blaming/scapegoating • Vivid but minor evidence

  12. Look Outside the Library as Well as In

  13. Don’t Overlook • Your own beliefs and biases • Your own (possible) role in the situation

  14. How Much Information Is Enough?

  15. Just Be Sure YouCover the Bases • Bouncing around is natural • More information may accrue over time

  16. Step #3:Lay It All Out

  17. Pareto Analysis • “80/20 rule” • Focus on numerical data • Use to identify which situations are most common

  18. Mind Mapping • Free-form note taking • Any kind of information • Use to show how different facts relate to the problem and to each other

  19. Look into Causes but Don’t Bog Down • Not all problems are “caused” • Not all causes can be corrected Ask for input – one person at a time.

  20. The Un-Problem:Appreciative Inquiry • Systematic discovery of the best in people and organizations • Unconditional positive questions • Directed conversation and storytelling • What is working well? • How can we do more of that?

  21. Step #4:Identify Your Options • What options do we have? • What has been done in other libraries? • In other disciplines? • How about something new?

  22. Situation:Something’s Gone Wrong • Find and correct the changes that account for the fall-off in results.

  23. Situation:Increased – or Changing – Expectations • Find new ways of operating.

  24. Situation:The Double Whammy • Find ways to reengineer the system – correct and invent.

  25. Situation:It Never Did Work Right • Find ways to overhaul – or completely rebuild.

  26. Things That Can Limit Your Thinking • Searching for THE ONE RIGHT ANSWER • Not involving front line people • Looking inside the library only • Waiting for 100% agreement • Fear of embarrassment or failure

  27. Be Sure to Include • Current approach • Something new • Something fun

  28. Step #5:Evaluate Your Options

  29. Check Sheet

  30. SWOT: Strengths – Weaknesses – Opportunities – ThreatsPMI:Plus – Minus - Interesting

  31. Six Thinking Hats

  32. Think Through Risks and Consequences • Reversible? • Pilot-able? • Timely? • Politically sensitive?

  33. Special Challenges in Many Library Environments • Perfectionism • Catastrophizing • Mixed feelings about success

  34. Step #6:Make Your Decision

  35. Reality Check:Strategic Thinking • How might this decision change the library’s position or reputation? • Will it set the stage or define a pattern for future decisions? • Do library stakeholders need a heads-up? • Who will get credit if things turn out well?

  36. Take Time to Write a Brief Summary of Your Process

  37. Step #7:Move Forward • Communicate the decision/solution • Plan the implementation • Monitor results • Learn as you go

  38. When Things Go Wrong • Work each problem • Re-prioritize if necessary • Maintain focus on desired outcomes • After a fair trial, change options

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