Solving Problems in Groups and Teams (Group Problem-Solving Process (Step…
Solving Problems in Groups and Teams
Group Problem Solving
The problem-solving process involves thoughts, discussions, actions, and decisions that occur from the first consideration of a problematic situation to the goal.
Group Problem-Solving Process
Step 1: Define the Problem
Considering the three elements shared by every problem: the current undesirable situation, the goal or more desirable situation, and obstacles in the way.
Step 2: Analyze the Problem
focuses on the “why"
Discuss the potential causes of the difficulty
Begin setting out an agenda or timeline for the group’s problem-solving process, looking forward to the other steps
Step 4: Evaluate Solutions
Group leader or facilitator should confirm that the group is in agreement. It may be beneficial to let the group break for a while or even to delay the final decision until a later meeting to allow people time to evaluate it outside of the group context.
Step 5: Implement and Assess the Solution
Requires some advanced planning, and it should not be rushed unless the group is operating under strict time restraints or delay
may lead to some kind of harm
Groups should also determine how and when they would assess the effectiveness of the solution by asking
The group should consider its future
Step 3: Generate Possible Solutions
solutions should not be evaluated at this point, only proposed and clarified. The question should be what could we do to address this problem, not what should we do to address it
Decision Making in Groups
Brainstorming before Decision Making
Evaluation of ideas is forbidden
Wild and crazy ideas are encouraged
Quantity of ideas, not quality, is the goal
New combinations of ideas presented are encouraged.
Do a warm-up brainstorming session
“If our group formed a band, what would we be called?” or “What
other purposes could a mailbox serve?” The first warm-up gets the group’s more abstract creative juices flowing, while the second focuses more on practical and concrete ideas
Do the actual brainstorming session
This session shouldn’t last more than thirty minutes and should follow the four rules of brainstorming mentioned previously. To ensure that the fourth rule is realized, the facilitator could encourage people to piggyback off each other’s ideas.
Eliminate duplicate ideas
Group members can eliminate (without evaluating) ideas that are the same or very similar.
Clarify, organize, and evaluate ideas
If it becomes clear that there isn’t really a foundation to an idea and that it is too vague or abstract and can’t be clarified, it may be eliminated.
Discussion before Decision Making
Silently and individually list ideas
Create a master list of ideas
The facilitator goes around the group in a consistent order asking each person to share one idea at a time. As the idea is shared, the facilitator records it on a master list that everyone can see
Clarify ideas as needed
The facilitator should note that group members can now ask for clarification on ideas on the master list
Take a secret vote to rank group members' acceptance of
Members use a voting ballot to rank the acceptability of the ideas on the master list
Specific Decision-Making Techniques
Minority rule by authority
Minority rule by expert