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Statement of the problem
From the case study, it is clear that the BMI executive team have challenges as a problem solving group. There are many instances where the entire team displays ineffectiveness in solving the problem at hand which is to make a decision on whether to relocate the business to a newly refurbished downtown building or some slightly better space in a suburban park.
Bud starts the meeting by ‘assuming’ that everyone has already given thought to the decision as opposed to ensuring that from the onset all the members are on the same page as to the decision at hand.
Marty veers off the main topic of discussion and begins to talk about the image of the company and its importance and also goes into a lengthy tirade about the rudeness of the customer care representatives and the need to train them further. This does not add value to the main topic of discussion.
After Liz explains about why a downtown site makes sense from a recruitment perspective, the group then introduces a third alternative, that of having both the executive office and a recruitment office downtown. Whereas this is a valid suggestion, it should have been put forward from the onset as posing it at this point only makes decision making that more difficult for the team.
Possible causes of the problem
The inefficiencies experienced in the group as they try to solve the problem at hand could be attributed to several causes.
It is possible that the team did not have enough time to prepare adequately for the meeting. Another cause could be the fact that some team members do not feel that the problem is important enough to warrant their input or they feel that their time is being wasted in the meeting. Also possible is that the chair of the meeting is unable to steer the meeting properly hence the deviation from the main discussion points.
To better manage the problem solving process, the group could have used the nominal group technique. This is a group decision making technique in which discussion or interpersonal communication is restricted at the beginning of the problem solving process. The entire BMI executive team would still be required to be physically present in the room the difference being that each member would be required to have mulled over the problem and write their thoughts down on paper before discussion takes place.
After this, each member of the executive team would present one idea at a time until all the members have presented all the ideas that they’d have written down. Members are not allowed to discuss until all ideas have been shared. Once all ideas have been shared, they then discuss the ideas to ensure everyone understands each person’s ideas and they also evaluate the ideas put forward by the members of the team.
The team members then individually rank all the ideas in order from the highest to the lowest. Once this is done, the top ranked ideas are then put up for discussion by the entire team and the decision is made based on these top ranked ideas.
The benefit of this technique is that it doesn’t hinder individual’s creative thinking as all ideas are put up for discussion. It also gives a sense of collective decision making since all members rank the ideas and based on that ranking, decisions are made. This technique, if employed by the BMI executive members would greatly improve their decision making, making their problem solving meetings more objective, focused and productive.