Fishbone for Problem Solving

One of the common things between us all as human beings is that we all face problem. What’s uncommon is our strategies in dealing with our problems. While some people would feel blocked, frustrated, angry and might even go to the extreme of feeling depressed, others don’t. The way we deal with our day-to-day problems has a great impact on the level of life we live. The fishbone technique is one of the thinking tools I use to deal with the problems I encounter. It requires a sheet of paper and a pen and 4 easy steps:

1- Identifying the problem
Drawing a triangle and writing in it the problem as specifically as possible. ‘A problem with time’ is a very vague term to use for solving a problem. Not sleeping long enough due to lack of time sounds more specific.

2- Identifying the consequences of the problem
By drawing a line (as the body of the fish) and adding the bones on the lower side. On each bone add one of the consequences of the problem. Think of both long term consequences and short term ones. Think deep.

3- Analyse the causes of the problem
By drawing another set of lines for bones on the upper side and adding a cause on each bone. No matter how the cause sounds simple of superficial, just write down all the causes.

4- Identify the possible solutions
Add the tail of the fish and start writing down all the possible solutions. Write them in bulleted points and ensure that the solutions are applicable and realistic.

Take a final look at your fishbone and consider the full image. Start putting your solutions into practice. Scheduling the actions you need to take, asking for help, learning something new to go beyond the problem are possible steps you might need to take. Instead of complaining from a problem be proactive and fishbone it!

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