We live in a world filled with problems that are more complex, more conflicted, and more interconnected than ever before. And yet we bring to this daunting challenge the same, linear problem solving model articulated in the 1950’s. Over the last 20+ years of consulting, my colleagues and I have come to believe there are 6 types of problems in the world — not just one! And each type requires a different strategy for successful resolution. The “one size fits all” strategy we have grown up with will not suffice if we are to address the volume and difficulty of modern day problems.
This limited view of problem solving has also limited our understanding of the role of innovation in problem solving. Each problem type calls for a different innovative focus.
When you discern the essential nature of any problem situation, you can pinpoint the most powerful strategy for addressing it, the point where innovation will add dramatic value rather than just variety, and the best role you can play in facilitating the process which often, if not usually involves improvisation.
For more information: JLTalley & Associates
Jerry Talley is the veteran of 3 careers. His first venture was on the faculty of Stanford University teaching in the Sociology Department for 18 years. Stanford was also the source of his PhD.
Coincident with that experience, he had a practice as a Marriage and Family Therapist for about ten years. He still sometimes lectures at Stanford and other Bay area schools on relationship issues.
Starting in the late 1970’s, he moved into organizational development consulting, accumulating over 250 client engagements since that time. For 16 years he managed the South Bay Organizational Development Network, a 500-member professional development group for HR, Training, and OD practitioners.
His clients have included companies in high tech R&D, hospitality, health care, the military, manufacturing, insurance, banking and credit unions, education, publishing, entertainment, mental health, city and county government, not-for-profits, and large consulting houses…and one organic grocery store.
Through all these experiences, the common focus was on how people think about and manage complex and troubling situations, and how they form relationships with each other (or not) in the process.