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Problem-solving is a routine practice for any manager, doctor, teacher, student, or even a stay-at-home dad. However, effective approaches to decision making in troublesome situations is a rare occurrence, as often people facing problems tend to feel afraid, uncomfortable, and wish to run away (Hicks, n.d.). The present paper describes and compares two problem-solving strategies found on business management websites and provides a critical analysis of their essences.
Hicks’s Seven Steps
One of the most referenced and acknowledged problem-solving guidelines is the strategy described by Hicks (n.d.) that includes seven steps. First, Hicks (n.d.) recommends identifying the problem from different perspectives. Second, the author offers to outline the interests of all the stakeholders. The third step is to create a list of all the available options and, consequently, the fourth step is to evaluate possibilities. The fifth stage includes sorting through the described variants and choosing the most balanced alternative. After that, Hicks (n.d.) insists on making a documented agreement on the decision to revise the option and to avoid forgetting any detail. Lastly, the author recommends agreeing on contingencies, monitoring, and evaluation of the decision. In short, the seven-step method seems to be a comprehensive and concise strategy presented by a qualified specialist that does not have any signs of bias.
Tracy’s Ten Steps
Another strategy is Tracy’s creative problem-solving process that includes ten steps. The steps are presented in the following list:
- Look at the situation from a positive perspective;
- Give a precise definition of the case and include every possible detail;
- Approach the problem from all directions and use critical thinking to evaluate options;
- Describe the ideal outcome of the situation;
- Choose the most balanced solution to the problem;
- Develop a plan to overcome the worst possible result of the issue;
- Set measures for evaluating the progress;
- Specify deadlines;
- Take action.
While the guideline seems similar to Hicks’s problem-solving strategy, it adds crucial points that make it more effective.
Comparing the Two Strategies
The strategies are both viable and effective; however, Tracy’s approach is more appealing due to the inclusion of several crucial points. First, Tracy (n.d.) offers to look at the situation positively but prepare for the worst possible outcomes. Although the suggestion may seem controversial, it is very realistic and practical in my opinion. Second, Tracy (n.d.) mentions that interventions should be time specific. As deadlines are the central criteria for efficiency evaluation, Hicks’s omission of the matter is crucial. In short, I believe that the ten-step problem-solving model is more beneficial for everyday practice.
The Research Process
The research was conducted through a Google search on decision-making techniques. Articles were tested for credibility by identifying the authors and their credentials, the publisher, the purpose, and the evidence provided. While there were no problems in formatting the document, the research was hard to conduct due to the scarcity of credible sources. Most of the business articles present the signs of bias and aim at selling courses, books, or workshops.
Moreover, many publishers fail to acknowledge the writer of the materials making it impossible to evaluate the competency of the author. Additionally, websites rarely specify the publication date, which is central for medicine and business studies. In essence, the research was hard to conduct due to complications in identifying credible Internet sources.
Problem-solving skills are crucial for all the people in the world full of stress and anxiety. The key to success is in a systematic approach towards the issue, as it helps to overcome the fear and discomfort of a problematic situation. The two most effective strategies in the matter are described and evaluated in the present paper. In conclusion, Tracy’s guidelines seem to be more effective for managing difficult situations than the method offered by Hicks.
Hicks, T (n.d.). Seven steps for effective problem solving in the workplace. Web.
Module 1 – case. (n.d.).
Tracy, B. (n.d.). The 10-step process to solve any problem. Web.