Old School SEVEN STEP PROBLEM SOLVING (NAVEDTRA12048 chapter 4)

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  • 1. NAVEDTRA 12048Naval Education and December 1991 Training ManualTraining Command 0502-LP-217-0700 (TRAMAN)Military Requirementsfor Senior and MasterChief Petty OfficerDISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A: Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.Nonfederal government personnel wanting a copy of this documentmust use the purchasing instructions on the inside cover. 0502LP2170700
  • 2. MILITARY REQUIREMENTS FOR SENIOR AND MASTER CHIEF PETTY OFFICER NAVEDTRA 12048 1991 Edition Prepared by QMCS(SW) Michael N. Scherck
  • 3. that do not point toward your goal. Tinsel is pretty butexpensive.COMPREHENSIVE VIEWPOINT Have you gone through all the planning steps? Doesyour plan cover all vital actions without going intominute, restrictive detail? You must leave room forsubordinates to maneuver. Is your plan consistent withcommand procedures and goals? Your plan shouldmake coordination with other elements of the commandeasy.COST-EFFECTIVENESS Cost-effectiveness applies to more than just dollars.If your plan will provide enough return to justify thetime, energy, and personal involvement you (and others)will invest, use it; otherwise, cancel it. One of the hardestthings for a manager to do is scrap a lovely, simple plan.If you must cancel a plan, do it yourself; this is easierthan having it scrapped by someone else. SCIENTIFIC METHOD OF PROBLEM SOLVING How many times during the past months have youfound obstacles standing between you and some goalyou wanted to reach? Most supervisors could quote afairly large figure if they could make an accurate tallyof the number of problems they have faced. Whenever Figure 4-2.-Decision making.difficulties block your path to some goal, you have aproblem. Since you do not lead a charmed existence, 1. Any system is better than no system at all.problems confront you everyday. As a mature person, 2. The ultimate goal of any system is the ability toyou probably accept the inevitability of problems, face withhold judgment until all aspects of thethem realistically, and seek workable solutions. But, problem have been logically considered.unless you have studied the nature of problems and waysto tackle them, you may still be resorting to The system we describe here is a way you cantrial-and-error methods. This often results in your remove obstacles and reach the goal in problem solving.overlooking the best solutions. The method closely related to the process of scientific Problems can be solved to the advantage of all investigation is often referred to as the scientificconcerned. The art of problem solving may seem method of problem solving. The method is notextremely tedious and demanding at first. However, foolproof, but it will help you withhold judgment untilonce you master it you will enjoy the benefits of finding you have considered all possible facets of the problemthe best solution for the problem at hand. and all possible solutions. This is a value of any problem-solving system. It enables you to consider Your duties are demanding. Demands create possible solutions without prejudice or bias. Anyproblems that you must solve, sometimes by yourself systematic approach to problem solving will help you tobut more often with others equally concerned. What withhold judgment and remain open-minded.better reason could you have to master problem solving?You should remember two principles about problem The seven phases of problem salving (or decisionsolving: making) follow a logical sequence (fig. 4-2). In actual 4-11
  • 4. practice, you will probably need to adjust this sequence you decide which method of travel to use. The bus mayto fit the moment. Developments in one phase may cause be too slow. The train may leave too early. Airfare mayyou to readjust or reconsider factors in a previous step. exceed available funds. Whatever criteria you set up willThe following are the seven steps to problem solving: help you decide between alternatives. 1. Recognize the problem 2. Gather the data LIST ALL POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS 3. List all possible solutions Where do you find possible solutions? You may get 4. Test/discuss possible solutions ideas almost immediately. The longer you study, 5. Select the best possible solution consider, and think about solutions, the more alternatives you will have. Solving the first two steps to 6. Implement problem solving should generate some viable 7. Follow-up alternatives along the way.RECOGNIZE THE PROBLEM TEST/DISCUSS POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS Can you take a trip without first deciding whatmethod of transportation to use or without knowing In every instance, you should consider each possiblewhere you want to go? Obviously, you must recognize solution against the established criteria. Evaluate youryour need to get from one place to another. Secondly, solution by asking yourself or others the followingyou must know your goals or the place you intend to questions:visit. You must consider the obstacles such as cost, time,available transportation, and routes to take. The above Is the solution suitable? Will this solutionfactors contribute to recognizing your problem through produce the desired results? Will it do the job?analysis of the elements. Is the solution feasible? Do the means for completing the job by this method exist? Can theGATHER THE DATA job be accomplished this way? You now have a goal and you have identified the Is the solution acceptable? Is the solution going to be cost-effective? Will it fit commandthings that stand between you and success. Next, youmust get all the information you need to solve the directives? Even if the solution is cheaper, willproblem. You need to know about road conditions as it be more time-consuming?well as bus, train, and airline schedules and fares. Dividethis information into the following categories: SELECT THE BEST POSSIBLE SOLUTION Facts–These are known truths. For example, youcan call the highway patrol for road conditions, you can At this point, you can decide on the best solution byconsult schedules for trip times, and a map will provide eliminating those that do not meet your criteria. Fordistance information. example, in planning your trip, you may eliminate rail, Assumptions–Some data is assumed, such as the bus, and air travel because they do not fit your criteria.accuracy of information concerning fares and possible You may decide that driving your car is the best solutionroutes. to the problem. Criteria–A criterion is a standard of judging. This is Of course most problems are not this simple. Youmost important in data gathering. It is a rule by which will frequently find two or more alternatives that meetyou measure such things as facts, principles, opinions, all your criteria. You must then decide which will be theand assumptions. In problem solving, you should best. This may well be the hardest part of decisionalways have some criteria to consider. For example, you making because it causes you to fall into amight consider criteria such as the following: departure mission-oriented frame of reference. Which alternativemust be between 0800 and 1000, arrival must be before is best for the overall mission? Which will best dovetail1700, luggage must include two suitcases and a trunk, with other ongoing projects? Which pays the mostand travel money is limited to $75. The criteria will help dividends in the long run? 4-12
  • 5. IMPLEMENT AND FOLLOW UP activities, and the work for which each activity is responsible. Put the solution into effect. No problem is solveduntil action is taken. After all that work making adecision, do not let your work be wasted. Follow up. Get GOALS AND OBJECTIVESfeedback on the progress of your solution. You may needto review and revise your solution as it progresses. Also, Objectives provide both direction and destination tofailure to follow up shows a lack of interest. Your our efforts. Many managers make decisions without firstsubordinates may wonder why they should be interested identifying the goals or objectives and planning the bestin the plan. route for attaining them. For our purposes, goals and objectives are ORGANIZING essentially the same. An objective is the desired end result of your efforts. It should be consistent with your Organizing is analyzing the mission, determining unit mission. Objectives can be stated in broad termsthe jobs, setting up the structure, and assigningpersonnel. Since planning and organizing overlap, (overall objectives) or be precise (specific objectives).saying precisely when planning stops and organizing You reach overall objectives through setting andstarts is nearly impossible. attaining subobjectives specific strategies, policies, programs, and so forth. The basic procedure of organizing consists ofconsidering mission and resources, putting them in To determine objectives, you first must define yourorder, and carrying out plans. Factors considered unit’s overall mission. Your unit’s intended function orinclude functions, operations, tasks, material, purpose is its mission.manpower, money, space, and time. You have four majortasks: set up a structure, determine procedures, Areas that need objectives include, but are notestablish requirements, and allocate resources. limited to, work performance, worker attitudes, retention, productivity, material, and finances. Organizing is based on mission objectives.Different missions require different types oforganization. The mission, however, does not tell you CONTROLSwhat specific functions, operations, and tasks will berequired. It is simply a short statement of the end results What are controls? Controls are everywhere. Theexpected and is reduced to the following three areas: governor on an engine, a fire alarm, a circuit breaker, 1. Functions–General types of work that must be and extra military instruction (EMI) are all examples of performed to accomplish the mission controls. You exercise control when you, the manager, 2. Operations–Specific jobs that must be done to take steps to ensure you reach your goals. To achieve perform a function control, you must monitor work progress and correct deviations from established standards. 3. Tasks–Individual jobs required to complete an operation Controls can be total or partial. A smoke detector is a familiar partial control system. It announces the The important thing for you to remember is to break presence of smoke but does nothing to correct thethe mission down into the functions, operations, andtasks needed to accomplish it. Then group them by problem. A high-pressure safety valve on a boiler is asimilarities of required skills and equipment. The project total control system. It detects excessive pressure in theconcept discussed under planning now comes into play. boiler and corrects the problem by releasing steam untilOnce you have grouped the various elements of the pressure reaches an acceptable level (establishedmission, you must develop an organizational structure standard).based on that grouping. This structure will provide the Although controlling concerns every facet ofchannel through which orders will travel, and it willdetermine the assignment of responsibility and management, planning and control are intimatelyauthority. The typical organizational chart is a graphic related. Sound planning determines the direction of anrepresentation of a unit’s structure. It shows the lines of organization. Good plans establish appropriate controlsauthority and responsibility, the relationships between to keep the organization on track. 4-13
  • 6. inspections, and automatic data processing (ADP) products. Keep control procedures as simple and cost-effective as possible. Ensure, however, that they are adequate for the task at hand. Evaluate Performance Against Standards Compare performance data to established standards. The results of this comparison indicate where you are in relation to your goals. If everything is on track, take a bow. If things are beginning to stray off course or come unraveled, decide whether or not to take corrective action. Initiate Corrective action If performance standards are not being met, you should start corrective action. Examine your monitoring Figure 4-3.-Steps to effective control. system; is it accurate? Do performance standards accurately reflect mission requirements? Are your standards too high or too low? If your monitoringSTEPS TO EFFECTIVE CONTROL methods and standards are adequate, examine the production methods and work force factors (morale, The steps to effective control closely resemble leadership, and so forth). Can production efficiency andplanning and organizing steps. See figure 4-3. The effectiveness be improved? Is training up to speed? Dofollowing are the four basic steps to controlling: leadership and supervisory ability meet your standards? 1. Set standards How about morale and environmental conditions. Another possibility is poor planning or organization. 2. Define Performance monitoring procedures You must go to work and get things moving in the right 3. Evaluate Performance against standards direction again. After all, that is what managers do! 4. Initiate corrective actionSet Standards EVALUATING YOUR CONTROLS To establish control over a process, you must first Ž Most commands have four key areas of control:decide what standards you will use for reference points. financial, inventory, quantity, and quality. Use theStandards define the goals of your efforts. They express following criteria to evaluate your command’s controls:recruiting targets, quality control goals, budget goals, orflight schedules. These are quantitative standards: 14 Ž Timeliness–Controls must provide timelyrecruits a month, zero defects, 10 percent spending detection and correction of problems to minimizereduction, or all aircraft full mission capable (FMC) for wasted time and resources.a sortie. Other standards involve qualitative goals:sharp uniforms, fair selection boards, or improved Ž Accuracy–Accurate monitoring procedures allow you to pinpoint potential problems formorale. Qualitative standards are much more difficult to correction.define and control than quantitative standards. Ž Acceptability–Controls must be reasonable.Define Performance Monitoring Procedures Unnecessarily stringent controls generate resistance within the work force. When workers feel there is no The next step in achieving control is deciding how trust or fail to understand the need for controls, they mayto measure performance, what information to require, circumvent the system. You are no doubt familiar withand how to obtain it. Performance data maybe gathered the term gundecking. You may even know someonefrom personal observation, written and oral reports, who has been guilty of gundecking. 4-14
  • 7. Ž Cost-effectiveness–Controls consume money when displayed graphically. Most charts are versions ofand man-hours. Unless a control system will save more either the Gantt chart or the Program Evaluation andthan it costs to implement, look elsewhere for a solution. Review Technique (PERT). As you apply these principles of control, you must BUDGETS. –By far the best known control deviceconsider the time frame in which your controls operate. is the budget. Budgets and control are, in fact,Controls operate in three modes in relation to time: synonymous. An organization’s budget is an expressionfeedforward, concurrent, and feedback. in financial terms of a plan for meeting the organization’s goals for a specific period. A budget is an Ž Feedforward control–This control, the most instrument of planning, management, and control. Wedynamic of the three, is designed to discover problems use budgets in two ways. First, we use them asbefore they occur. Drawbacks to feedforward control are established facts that must be factored into ourthe heavy investment of time and the detailed operational planning. Second, we use them to preparemanagement required to make this system work. A narrative descriptions and financial information that ourmaintenance manager who adjusts leave and liberty chain of command uses in its annual request andschedules to meet anticipated workloads is practicing management of its funds. At present, the Department offeedforward control. the Navy (DON) uses two major budget systems. These Ž Concurrent control–This type of control effects are zero-based budgeting (ZBB) and the planning, programming, and budgeting system (PPBS).corrections as they are needed. It does not predict them.When the process under control deviates from AUDITS. –Internal auditing provides anacceptable limits, concurrent control steps in and independent review and appraisal of accounting,corrects problems as they occur. When you walk, you financial, and other nontactical operations. As aconstantly monitor your stride and balance to avoid management tool, the audit measures and evaluates thefalling. This is concurrent control. effectiveness of management controls. The Naval Audit Service provides an independent audit of programs, Ž Feedback control–Feedback control fixes a activities, systems, and procedures. It also provides anproblem “after the fact.” For instance, a defense independent audit of other operations involving the usecontractor who discovers during final testing that a of funds and resources and the accomplishment ofcomponent has a defective design must scrap the management goals. Budgets and audits are addressed inproduction run and fix the problem. The contractor may detail in Financial Management in the Navy,lose money on that one production run, but that is better NAVEDTRA 10792-E.than a congressional investigation for sending defectiveparts to the fleet. Nonquantitative Methods There are as many ways of attaining control as thereare managers! Even standard control methods are Nonquantitative methods refer to total or overallpersonalized by individual managers to suit personal control of performance rather than specific processes.inclinations and individual situations. These methods use tools such as inspections, reports, direct supervision, and performanceMETHODS OF CONTROL evaluation/counseling to accomplish goals. Control techniques or methods are generally TOTAL QUALITY LEADERSHIPdescribed as either quantitative or nonquantitative. The DON has recently adopted the concept of Total Quality Leadership (TQL) as the means of meetingQuantitative Methods DON needs into the 21st century. Executive Order 12637, signed April 27, 1988, establishes the Quantitative methods use data and various Productivity Improvement Program for the federalquantitative tools to monitor and control production government. TQL IS THE NAVY’S ANSWER TOoutput. Two common quantitative tools are budgets and THIS ORDER.audits. By far the most widely recognized quantitativetool is the chart. Charts used as control tools normally The concept behind TQL revolves around a changecontrast time and performance. The visual impact of a from leadership by results to leadership by processchart often provides the quickest method of relating (quality) improvement. The manager’s task is todata. A difference in numbers is much more noticeable continually improve each and every process in his or her 4-15