At Pearson’s Critical Thinking Boot Camp last month, I learned a valuable lesson for problem solving and decision making. When trying to solve a current problem or anticipating a future issue, the first thing you should assess is what factors you can and cannot control. We often waste time trying to figure out how to change something that we have no power to change instead of working on the aspects that we can control and influence.
Let’s imagine your department is using an ineffective/outdated software to track customer information. You may not be able to control whether or not you purchase a new problem because of budget, technology, politics, etc. What you can control is how you handle information. Is there a back-up technique you could employ? Perhaps the issue is training. Can you train your employees to get more out of the cumbersome program? Can you meet with the software salesperson to see if they have a solution for your problems? Can you work with decision makers to plan for a future software upgrade?
Instead of focusing on the things you cannot change, work with the things you can influence or control.
Editor’s Note: Breanne Harris is the Solutions Architect for Pearson TalentLens. She works with customers to design selection and development plans that incorporate critical thinking assessments and training. She has a Master’s degree in Organizational Psychology and has experience in recruiting, training, and HR consulting. She is the chief blogger for Critical Thinkers and occasionally posts at ThinkWatson. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter for more of her thoughts.