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Problem Solving & Decision Making

Applying critical-thinking skills to solve problems by generating, evaluating, and implementing solutions.

  • Identifying the problem
    • Anticipate or recognizes the existence of a problem
    • Identify the true nature of the problem by analyzing its component parts
    • Evaluate the criticality of the situation
    • Use all available reference systems to locate and obtain information relevant to the problem
    • Recall previously learned information that is relevant to the problem
    • Document the problem and corrective action
  • Locating, gathering, and organizing relevant information
    • Effectively use both internal resources (e.g., internal computer networks, manuals, policy or procedure guidelines) and external resources (e.g., internet search engines) to locate and gather information
    • Examine information obtained for relevance and completeness
    • Recognize important gaps in existing information and take steps to eliminate those gaps
    • Organize/reorganize information as appropriate to gain a better understanding of the problem
    • Refer the problem to appropriate personnel when necessary
  • Generating alternatives
    • Integrate previously learned and externally obtained information to generate a variety of high-quality alternative approaches to the problem
    • Use logic and analysis to identify the strengths and weaknesses, the costs and benefits, and the short- and long-term consequences of different approaches
  • Choosing a solution
    • Choose the best solution after contemplating available approaches to the problem
    • Make difficult decisions even in highly ambiguous or ill-defined situations
  • Implementing the solution
    • Commit to a solution in a timely manner, and develop a realistic approach for implementing the chosen solution
    • Observe and evaluate the outcomes of implementing the solution to assess the need for alternative approaches and to identify lessons learned