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Problem Solving Articles

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There are many different processes, methods or techniques that can be used when problem solving and participants will see how important a thorough investigation, idea generation and evaluation, decision making and successful implementation are when finding a creative solution.

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"I'm 90% Sure That..."

Article Overview:
This article consists of a rather unusual quiz that measures exactly what you mean when you say "I am 90% sure that . . . "

About

Article Overview:
This article consists of a rather unusual quiz that measures exactly what you mean when you say "I am 90% sure that . . . "

Opening Words:
There's an old saying: "It isn't what you don't know that hurts you - it's what you think you know but's wrong!"

It may also give you some idea of what your doctor, lawyer, accountant or other professional adviser means when they tell you that they are 90% sure of something directly effecting your health and wellbeing.

Useful Reading For:
This is a simple quiz suitable for all but especially useful for people who have to make decisions.

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6 Sigma, Methodology or Philosophy?

Article Overview:
Arnaud Bossy's article provides an overview of 6 Sigma and the role of black and green belts.

About

Article Overview:
Arnaud Bossy's article provides an overview of 6 Sigma and the role of black and green belts.

Opening Words:
What is 6 Sigma? From a simplistic point of view, 6 Sigma is a 5 step process aimed at solving problems, driving strategic improvement and leading business transformation.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who wants to learn more about the 6 Sigma process and how it can be used to help solve business problems or achieve strategies.

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Action Learning

Article Overview:
This is an excellent article from Jane Honeybourne, which explains what Action Learning is, and how it can benefit individuals and organisations.
The article includes advice about what questions to use during the process, and how to review an Action Learning Set's effectiveness.

About

Article Overview:
This is an excellent article from Jane Honeybourne, which explains what Action Learning is, and how it can benefit individuals and organisations.
The article includes advice about what questions to use during the process, and how to review an Action Learning Set's effectiveness.

Opening Words:
Action Learning (AL) is a powerful performance improvement/management technique. In this article, I've explained what AL is and how it works, and given advice about the types of questions to use in an AL set. Towards the end of the article you'll find some ideas for introducing AL and reviewing its effectiveness.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who wants to know more about the Action Learning process and how it can help individuals and organisations tackle important work-related problems.

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Co-consulting

Article Overview:
The article explains what co-consulting is and gives some useful hints and advice for using co-consulting effectively.

About

Article Overview:
The article explains what co-consulting is and gives some useful hints and advice for using co-consulting effectively.

Opening Words:
I sometimes find trying to help people, groups and an organisation change and develop a lonely and stressful business. I would rather it was fun more of the time! It has been hard to think about what needs to be done and to overcome my own feelings of powerlessness. These feelings are very common among people who work in organisations; as trainers, consultants or managers. This has certainly been my experience both as an internal and external consultant. Some years ago a colleague and I found a way through these difficulties that worked for us. I have been using it for years and would like to share it with you.

In its simplest form, two people take turns helping each other. For say half an hour one person is the client and works with the other who is her/his consultant. The consultant and client can use any method that the client is willing to try. The consultant will need to listen to the client well first to understand the nature of the problem or issue before moving to a method. Often just listening attentively and asking questions is enough.

Useful Reading For:
All trainers and consultants.

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Frying Pan, Fire or Neither?

Article Overview:
Martin Haworth explains how getting someone else out of their 'frying pan' can get you into a 'fire' and explores a better way of helping your team members when they are struggling.

About

Article Overview:
Martin Haworth explains how getting someone else out of their 'frying pan' can get you into a 'fire' and explores a better way of helping your team members when they are struggling.

Opening Words:
How tempting is it to fix things? You know, you are passing by one of your teams’ cubicles and they are doing something you know all about. So you give a hand...

And then it's fixed, and you feel a rosy glow all about how you've 'helped'. But who is this about, you or them?

You see, it can be so frustrating, for someone already frustrated, when some smart-ass boss comes along to show their superiority. In fact, after it's fixed, all they get is a general feeling of inadequacy. And more frustration.

Useful Reading For:
Everyone, especially managers, team leaders and experienced staff.

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Help, I am the New HR Director. Now what?

Article Overview:
This excellent article from Joe Espana, considers the difficulties faced when someone is appointed to the role of HR Director. Joe argues that they have approximately 90 days in which to make an impact, and suggests different strategies for dealing with three different scenarios that might exist within the organisation.

About

Article Overview:
This excellent article from Joe Espana, considers the difficulties faced when someone is appointed to the role of HR Director. Joe argues that they have approximately 90 days in which to make an impact, and suggests different strategies for dealing with three different scenarios that might exist within the organisation.

Opening Words:
You've made it. What you always wanted to achieve; a senior HR role with a seemingly dynamic company, a CEO who gives every indication that he is on your side and will listen, and a real challenge that will allow you to make full use of your talents. And then the realisation of what you've taken on really hits. A friend of mine once describe getting his new HR Director role like this: His challenges felt at first like having to climb Mount Everest and being at base camp. Two months into the job he was beginning to realise that what he had taken on was definitely the summit of Mount Everest, but he now realised that far from being at base camp he was actually at Heathrow waiting for his delayed flight to Kathmandu - and, oh by the way, he'd forgotten to pack the oxygen needed for the climb.

The issue for many senior appointees in these sorts of circumstances is knowing exactly where to start. The requirements of an organisation in which everything seems important and urgent needs careful balancing. And on top of that, there is the added pressure of having to demonstrate value and contribution as soon as possible. By any measure, the new HR Director has approximately 90 days to show that he or she was a sound recruitment decision. The key issue, therefore, is to work out where the biggest return for effort exists.

Useful Reading For:
Management involved in HR.

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How Can I Boost Initiative In My Team?

Article Overview:
In this article Jennifer looks at some suggestions for getting people to take responsibility for themselves and show initiative.

About

Article Overview:
In this article Jennifer looks at some suggestions for getting people to take responsibility for themselves and show initiative.

Opening Words:
Do you ever get asked for your advice, opinion or assistance? In fact, do you seem to spend most of your time responding to people’s queries and telling them what they should be doing? And do you feel that you are repeatedly asked the same questions by the same people?

It’s frustrating, isn’t it? You have a job to do, a team to manage, results to achieve and deadlines to meet. You could do without these distractions because that’s what they feel like. Why can’t people just use their initiative and get on with the job?

Useful Reading For:
Managers and in particular first time managers.

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The Differences Between Coaching and its Related Fields

Article Overview:
This is a superb article from Carol Wilson, Head of Accreditation at the Association for Coaching and essential reading for anyone interested in coaching and performance coaching.

About

Article Overview:
This is a superb article from Carol Wilson, Head of Accreditation at the Association for Coaching and essential reading for anyone interested in coaching and performance coaching.

Opening Words:
Carol Wilson, Head of Accreditation at the Association for Coaching, and Gladeana McMahon, Fellow of the Association for Coaching, explore the differences between coaching and the related disciplines of counselling, psychotherapy, mentoring and consulting. Coaching draws its influences from and stands on the shoulders of a wide range of disciplines, including counselling, management consultancy, personal development, and psychology. However, there are a number of core differences which distinguish coaching from its related fields. This article is based on a chapter of the book ‘The Handbook of Best Coaching’, produced by the Association for Coaching and available at a reduced price of £20 on www.associationforcoaching.com.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone involved in coaching who wishes to explore the origins and influences of coaching.

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What is It You Do Exactly?

Article Overview:
Ever wondered what a ‘Business Coach’ actually does? This article from Sheila Williams will help you understand what they do and what they can do for you.

About

Article Overview:
Ever wondered what a ‘Business Coach’ actually does? This article from Sheila Williams will help you understand what they do and what they can do for you.

Opening Words:
There I am, sitting around a table at a breakfast networking meeting for owners of small businesses. The other seven are looking earnestly at me.

“So, Sheila, what’s your line of business then?”

“I’m a business coach.”

There’s a pause.

“Is that like you give advice to people, tell them how to run the business better?”

“Er no…” I start to say.

Useful Reading For:
Anyone who'd like to have a better understanding of the role of a business coach.

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Why It's Smart to Hang Out in the Fog (Sometimes)

Article Overview:
In this article, Bill talks about Jordan moments (it will make sense when you read the article!) and discusses the importance of tolerating uncertainty when looking for creative solutions.

About

Article Overview:
In this article, Bill talks about Jordan moments (it will make sense when you read the article!) and discusses the importance of tolerating uncertainty when looking for creative solutions.

Opening Words:
A few Sundays ago I found myself at the London Book Fair with my friend Guy Claxton. This was no accident. We were there to promote our new book for the BBC, Be Creative; essential steps to revitalize your life and work. (This was a celebrity event, gentle reader! Picture the scene. Just a few stands away, Jordan was drawing the crowds. Fresh from her Australian jungle frolics, she was launching her autobiography. Posing for the cameras she accidentally dropped what onlookers believed to be a copy of her book only to reveal to watching journalists that it was full of blank pages and not yet ready for publication. Apparently Jordan just did not know what to do with herself. Interestingly – and impressively - she appeared utterly unphased by the experience.)

All of which got me thinking….

Useful Reading For:
Everyone. Especially anyone exploring the avenue of creativity.

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