Break Down the Problem

Understand we cannot treat the truly unique problems as everyday problems.

“Checking the results of a decision against its expectations shows executives what their strengths are, where they need to improve, and where they lack knowledge or information.” – Peter Drucker

On Monday's, in any industry, we are faced with some problems. From sports to business, academia, and parenting, the start of a new week presents a set of unique issues that must be evaluated and addressed.

Peter Drucker was an Austrian-born American management consultant, educator, and author. His works contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of the modern business corporation. Drucker had a system to classify problems. He felt unless each obstacle was correctly classified, then the chances to formulating the right solution were not favorable.

Peter Drucker believed there were four basic types of problems:

  1. Generic events that are common within the organization and throughout the industry.

  2. Generic events that are unique for the organization but common throughout the industry.

  3. Truly unique events.

  4. Events that appear to be unique but are the first appearance of a new generic problem.

All but the truly unique event, according to Peter Drucker, requires a generic solution. He felt that standard rules and practices handle all those issues. A conversation that comes to mind on this theme was between 35th U.S. President John F. Kennedy and his brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. One day Bobby walked into the Oval Office and presented his brother with a "truly unique problem," which forced his brother to ask: "Bobby, every time you walk in here, you have a hard problem for me to solve. Bobby replied by saying, "Because I can answer the easy ones myself. "

Understand we cannot treat the truly unique problems as everyday problems. Why did the late Steve Jobs of Apple and today, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, decide to wear similar outfits all the time? Because they ultimately want to cut down on making decisions. This extra mental space provides an opportunity to focus solely on the unique problems, which they feel is their primary job.

As you navigate the day, spend more time on the unique problems you face. While making sure you have procedures in place to handle the less difficult ones. Every great team and organization needs a Robert F. Kennedy to handle the easy ones!

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