I know it’s mid-February, but I don’t think it’s ever too later to have a New Year’s resolution. My resolution has to do with reading. My goal is to read 24 books in 2012 or 2 books per month. I’m already behind by 2 books, but I just finished my first one today – The McKinsey Engagement by Paul Friga.

Problem Solving PDCA

Mr Friga provides a framework for team problem solving and gives real life examples from various McKinsey consulting engagements. He uses the acronym TEAM FOCUS to describe the approach.

T – Talk

E – Evaluate

A – Assist

M – Motivate

F – Frame

O – Organize

C – Collect

U – Understand

S – Synthesize

There are so many valuable take-aways from this book. With my background in science, the idea of creating a hypothesis really resonated with me. The “F” in focus is stands for “Frame”. It is critical to frame the business problem correctly. You do this by identifying the “right” question you are trying to answer and formulating the correct hypotheses. This scientific process forces you to make sure you are effective, efficient and aligned as a team to solve your problem. If the problem is not clearly defined, you can spend time going down rabbit trails that don’t lead to a solution. Once the problem / hypothesis is clearly defined, you can work to collect data which will either prove or disprove the hypothesis. This requires a more disciplined approach, but is necessary for solving complex business issues.

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