In any human setting, we also have to be careful about biases that are based on hierarchies, sometimes called sunflower bias. This, I think, brings us onto the third step in the process, which is that you have to prioritize. 0000010181 00000 n To discuss the art of problem solving, I sat down in California with McKinsey senior partner Hugo Sarrazin and also with Charles Conn. Charles is a former McKinsey partner, entrepreneur, executive, and coauthor of the book Bulletproof Problem Solving: The One Skill That Changes Everything [John Wiley & … Every problem we’re solving has some complexity and some uncertainty in it. You were just talking about problem definition as being a particularly important thing to get right first. Press enter to select and open the results on a new page. 0000015535 00000 n Hugo Sarrazin: No, but it may be useful as a starting point. Charles Conn: For me, the most important thing is that we start with simple heuristics and explanatory statistics before we go off and use the big-gun tools. Charles Conn: I love the way you’ve described that, because, again, some people think of problem solving as a linear thing, but of course what’s critical is that it’s iterative. Charles Conn: For me, problem solving is the answer to the question “What should I do?” It’s interesting when there’s uncertainty and complexity, and when it’s meaningful because there are consequences. h�bba`b``Ń3�{ 9 endstream endobj 156 0 obj <>/Metadata 23 0 R/Pages 22 0 R/StructTreeRoot 25 0 R/Type/Catalog/ViewerPreferences<>>> endobj 157 0 obj >/PageWidthList<0 612.0>>>>>>/Resources<>/Font<>/ProcSet[/PDF/Text/ImageC]/XObject<>>>/Rotate 0/StructParents 0/TrimBox[0.0 0.0 612.0 792.0]/Type/Page>> endobj 158 0 obj <> endobj 159 0 obj <>stream 0000004527 00000 n Simon London: I am slightly torn about the nomenclature of problem solving because it’s on paper, right? They talk about solving problems. It does pause and go out in the wild and spend an enormous amount of time seeing how people interact with objects, seeing the experience they’re getting, seeing the pain points or joy—and uses that to infer and define the problem. Hugo Sarrazin: It’s helpful, at that moment—if someone is asserting a point of view—to ask the question “This was true in what context?” You’re trying to apply something that worked in one context to a different one. Simon London: Here we’re talking about cognitive biases primarily, right? Simon London: Problem definition, but out in the world. I’m sure, Hugo, with your teams, you make sure that the youngest team members speak first. Simon London: Yeah. 0000003064 00000 n Select topics and stay current with our latest insights, How to master the seven-step problem-solving process. It could be defining the specific analyses that need to get done and executed, and being clear on time lines. Just as 20 years ago, when we were doing statistical analysis, we knew that we needed good model definition, we still need a good understanding of our algorithms and really good problem definition before we launch off into big data sets and unknown algorithms. Simon London: And thanks, as always, to you, our listeners, for tuning into this episode of the McKinsey Podcast. By following steps, we can more clearly understand what problem it is we’re solving, what are the components of the problem that we’re solving, which components are the most important ones for us to pay attention to, which analytic techniques we should apply to those, and how we can synthesize what we’ve learned back into a compelling story. People spend a lot of time arguing about branches that are either not important or that none of us can change. Or maybe the ability to communicate crisply and clearly? cookies. Without being too flippant, I can solve any problem during a good dinner with wine. The ability to synthesize the pieces that came out of the analysis and begin to weave those into a story that helps people answer the question “What should I do?” This is back to where we started. What’s the number-one skill you need to succeed professionally? Is it sound? That, to me, is the most important step. It’s how we know what’s expected of us and when we need to deliver it and how we’re progressing toward the answer. ������/2$��0�1n�1�cac�`�8���/�h������T���%�K��������[a���x@� �>/Filter/FlateDecode/Index[25 130]/Length 27/Size 155/Type/XRef/W[1 1 1]>>stream Simon London: Now, is there a danger that your logic tree can be impossibly large? You can think about questions like “What town would I like to live in?” or “Should I put solar panels on my roof?”, You might think that’s a funny thing to apply problem solving to, but in my mind it’s not fundamentally different from business problem solving, which answers the question “What should my strategy be?” Or problem solving at the policy level: “How do we combat climate change?” “Should I support the local school bond?” I think these are all part and parcel of the same type of question, “What should I do?”. 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