Joint Problem Solving (JPS)

The uniqueness of the JPS approach is that it incorporates the best of many management and leadership theories used in different parts of the world.

It is also a product of over thirty years of testing and application in a wide range of South African organizations.

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Situation?

If we don’t know what the problem is, we will end up all discussing different problems at the same time and may not even know it.

Or we may flit from one problem situation to another and get ourselves thoroughly exhausted, frustrated and confused.

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Tools?

Why the heck do we want tools? We’re not fixing a car or a machine, or making a piece of furniture. True, but there are guidelines for thinking better and communicating better. These are the tools we are talking about.

JPS offers a kitbag of thinking and communicating tools that help us to choose the right tool for the Situation or problem at hand. For example, making a decision requires a very different kind of thinking from analysing a problem.

How wide is your range of thinking and communicating tools? Or do you just think and say whatever comes easiest to mind?

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Others Involved?

How much thought – and heart – do you give to having a careful look at who can break or make your decisions and plans – and how to involve them?

Talking to others could ‘waste’ a lot of time.

On the other hand, working and talking only with those you like or are easy to talk to may undermine the action towards a solution.

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Readiness?

Every one of us is different with our different kinds of motivation and ability to deal with a problem situation. We can’t expect a playful 6 year old to sit down and learn algebra in a 60 minute lecture. Neither would we try to teach a managing director with an MBA how to count from 1-50.

Although less obvious, we have the same thing happening, every day in the workplace, in our homes and on the sports field. If we don’t take time and care to put ourselves in the shoes of those we want to involve in solving a problem, we are unlikely to get through to them.

If ‘empathy’ takes a back seat, so will our joint problem solving.

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Plan to Involve?

I guess it is much easier to “just get out there and do it and take action”. Better to be someone who acts and is quick off the mark, impressing others with being a quick thinker and person of action, than to be seen as someone who thinks and never gets to take action.

But be careful that we don’t get so keen to be quick to act, that we no longer think and plan before we act. Zero planning and all action is as bad as all planning and zero action.

Planning to engage others in tackling the situation doesn’t come easily to us in our haste to get the job done. It is a new discipline for us.

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Implementation?

If we don’t act on what we have planned to do, we are living in a world of ideas and theory.

Decisions and plans from examining the situation, choosing the right tools to use, choosing the right others to be involved and planning how to involve them, will only become a reality if we IMPLEMENT and take action so we can learn what does and doesn’t work in practice.

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The uniqueness of the JPS approach is that it incorporates the best of many management and leadership theories used in different parts of the world. It is also a product of over thirty years of testing and application in a wide range of South African organizations.

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