Congratulations on what you accomplished so far. You learned that clearly defining the problem is the key. You learned to distinguish between a problem and a condition. You looked at possible alternatives, took action, monitored your progress, made needed changes and finished solving your problem. Now you are ready to tackle the next problem, right? Nope. You have two more steps before you can take on another big problem. Evaluate and celebrate!
Evaluating the process you used to solve your problem is a great way to leverage all the painful lessons your learned solving your problem. What kinds of things can your learn from your successes and failures?
- The skill set of your team
- Who can handle pressure and who can’t
- Who can be depended on and who can’t
- Who is a good team player and who is not
- Who will step up and take more authority and responsibility and who shirks both
- The problem solving styles of your team members
- The interpersonal styles of your team members
- The communications skills of your team members, listening, talking, presenting, and writing
- If you are the team lead, you can find out all of the above about yourself
- Who will throw you under the buss when there is a problem
- Who has your back when there is a problem
- How well you can convince people who don’t work for you to support your team
- How good you are at sharing credit
- How comfortable you are with acclaim
- How comfortable you are with criticism
- How well you estimate time
- How well organized you are
- How you and your team react to conflict
- How well you can deal with unresolved conflict
- How you react to loss of critical resources or team members
- How well you prioritize
- How well you communicate changes in priorities
- How well you delegate
- How well you run meetings
- What your successful failures were
- And much more
Are prima donnas wreaking havoc in your organization? Watch John Cameron Nip Problem Behaviors in the Bud !
Pretty cool, eh? This brings up another useful point. How will you evaluate all of these wonderful things if you aren’t keeping track of them? You know you had to track activities to make sure you were going to hit your marks or deadlines. Now you know that you have to track all of these other things as well.
Some of your most useful discoveries will be what some folks call successful failures. These are parts of your problem solving project that blew up on you and caused hardship, pain, loss of money or conflict. I used to say that I never learned anything unless it involved a trip to the emergency room or me writing a thousand dollar check. Since I am a little older and more brittle than I used to be, I have made it a point to learn good lessons from less pain. I suggest you do the same.
Action Items/Activity Triggers
- Put together a list, similar to the one above, listing things to evaluate from your last problem solution project, and from your next.
- Prioritize your list.
- Keep the things you evaluate in a place where you can use them in your next problem solution project.