Working with the concept of problem solving, introduces a number of challenges for me. I believe that what we think about, we most certainly, through our thoughts and actions, eventually bring about. So the very act of viewing something as a problem causes us to engage in negative thought processes. These negative thought processes sees us approaching any event which has occurred from a very negative standpoint. We view the event as something we need to overcome, rather than simply an event, which has occurred that, is not aligned with the outcome we want to achieve.

When you make this shift, where you no longer view any changes that you need to make or events, which are not aligned with the outcome you want to achieve, as problems, you remove the negative connotation associated with overcoming problems. You instead allow yourself to operate from a far more positive position. This subtle shift then allows you to view these changes or undesirable outcomes, which you need to make, as merely a set of different choice or decisions away. This subtle shift, will allow you to operate from a more positive position. You no longer have to overcome anything, all you need to do is make a few calculated and focused different decisions or choices and the outcome or result will change.

My experience has shown that once you make this shift away from viewing any undesirable result, as a problem you need to overcome. Instead you see it as an event which is not aligned with the outcome you want to achieve, you immediately remove the feeling of overwhelm and move into a proactive position, where you feel empowered. It is obviously far easier to make meaningful, appropriate decisions, when you are operating from a positive modality, where you feel underwhelmed. Rather than from a pressured position of overwhelm, as you tackle a problem and try you overcome it.

Change the way you look at problems and the problems will change into manageable, undesirable events, which can be altered, by simply making a few different choices or decisions. Now that you know that there is no such thing as problems, it is time to offer you a few tools to help you make better decisions. The better and more informed your decisions are, the better will be the new outcomes you will be able to achieve.

This dynamic environment we live in often requires us to make decisions, very The rapidly changing world we live in means we are expected to make high quality decisions almost in an instant. Deciding and acting is always the responsibility of the leader in any business. It has however become very challenging leaders to make any decisions, because of the dynamic nature of the business environment, with far more inputs and a myriad of interdependencies.

This challenge is exacerbated by the way data is presented. Reports are designed to inform, rather than to provide insights. These reports are designed to report by category or to merely offer metrics. This way of presenting data was effective, when there were fewer connections between data. This meant that there was a small gap between having information and utilising this to make any decision. The dynamic nature of the business environment and the ever shifting and changing world, has now resulted in a huge gap forming between the available information and its effectiveness as a decision making tool.

For Example: It is important to know the consumer buying habits and patterns in any market. The current way of providing reports as used by companies at the moment, only provides metrics, there is no provision made to consider crucial factors such as strategy, core competencies and the company’s competitive position. Strategy, core competencies and the competitive position of any business are the key factors, which drive any decisions, which need to be made.

It is for this reason that the current way of providing reports, where only metrics are presented, should be revised to include more relevant information around core competencies, strategy, market conditions and competitive position. It is no longer adequate to provide discrete facts, it has become crucial to provide meaningful information, which provides real answers. The information should be prepared to provide data relative to the decision, which needs to be made or that provides actual answers to crucial questions, needed to make great decisions.

For Example: most scorecard reports are designed to list categories. They list each metric, their current level of performance and then this compared to some sort of historical data. All this information is useful in certain contexts, but does not reveal the real information you need to know, when looking at a scorecard. Your goal when exploring any scorecards is most certainly not to be informed about targets, performance or history. Your role as a leader is to have meaningful information, which will give you the necessary background to allow you to create a plan and to take action. If reports are prepared with the result in mind, they will be far more effective and provide a meaningful support mechanism to any leader.

Obviously when you review a traditional report detailing categories and metrics, you will go through the report line by line. As you try to absorb all the data overwhelm, your brain will be trying to compare this data with previous information, which you have encountered and it will be filtering, eliminating and removing potentially crucial information, simply because of the information overload. We look at the data overload and try to answer the same question as we progress down the report, line by line. “Is the metric on target and what is the trend telling me”? This is a really ineffective and inefficient way of analysing data. Why ask the same question, repeatedly, when you can organise the data to allow you to discover the info you need to allow you to make any decision.

Rather create a decision or outcome driven report. This way you only present the crucial or relevant data, which you need to use to make the decision. You organise the metrics according to the question you need answered or the decision you need to make, rather than the data being organised on the report in terms of the metric, with no thought about the decision you need to make. This simplified way of analysing only the data you need, in a way that answers the question you need answered or the decision you need to make simplifies the process and allows you to get a clear picture.

This will allow you to immediately know where to focus your attention. This focused approach eliminates the need to wade through unnecessary rows and rows of repetitive data, which only overwhelms the reader. When you organise the data according to the focused approach as defined above, there is no need to wade through reams of data to get the answer. This organised, decision driven approach provides all the answers you need. The raw numbers are irrelevant, all the reader is interested in is what the numbers or trends mean and what action is required.

This approach allows you to very quickly get the answers you need and to track only the trends you need to be observing. Of course you can still analyse the raw data and use the numbers, if necessary to further understand or diagnose any challenges. The raw data or metrics are merely an input; they are not the answer you are looking for. So having all the numbers on any report, will actually just slow you down and even force you to become overwhelmed and overloaded. Too much data on any report is difficult to analyse and will result in your brain filtering or ignoring crucial information.

Action Idea: Think about all the reports you utilise to assist you when making any important decisions. Are you asking and answering the same questions on every line or even if you have become more organised and have adopted a colour coding scheme to highlight and track certain issues. Does the report actually answer the questions you have around the decision you need to make. To make the reports you use in future really effective, where they will serve as a powerful decision making tool. Organise the report to answer the real questions you have and simplify the process, by using the process I described above.

When you are rethinking how you can utilise the data you need in future, to assist you to make meaningful decisions, you need to make. Will require a major shift to the way you have operated in the past. Your historical practices of analysing, reading and attempting to analyse rows and rows of metrics, will most certainly not serve you going forward.

Author's Bio: 

Andrew is an expert and master teacher that speaks and teaches self-leadership, expanded awareness, effectiveness, efficiency and productivity. He guides individuals and business professionals, to identify, prioritise and carry out the right activities, consistently, so that they can maximise their personal effectiveness and deliver their best; on time, every time. All the tools and techniques Andrew teaches; have been tested in the laboratory of his own life and the many successful businesses he has owned and led, over the past 20 years. These strategies have seen Andrew achieve financial independence and reach a point of harmonious balance in all areas of his life. His purpose is to help as many people as possible, achieve similar or better results and to show them how they can realise their full potential, both personal and professionally and to help them live a meaningful life, where they are fulfilled in all areas.