Easy solutions to South Africa’s problems

…If we harness the array of simple techniques necessary to resolve them

South Africa’s problems are only as serious as the capacity of decision makers to solve them. Under competent management a problem is merely a challenge disguising an opportunity waiting to be discovered.

Imagine if we addressed South Africa’s challenge of high rates of HIV infection or tried to end a strike using a traditional framework for Ethical Problem Solving. The questions to be answered by policy makers and those affected would be:

  • Which option will produce the most good and create the least harm?
  • Even if not everyone gets all they want, will everyone’s rights and dignity still be respected?
  • Which option is fair to all stakeholders?
  • Which option would help all participate more fully in the life we share as a family/community/society?
  • Do you want to be a person who acts this way (a person of courage or compassion)?

Makes you think doesn’t it? BizTech a major training company based in Johannesburg will be running a two day workshop in October giving participants from government and the private sector the tools to transform their work as administrators and as individuals. The course presents participants with more than a dozen problem solving techniques including mind mapping, value chain analysis, Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats theory, lateral reasoning, Swot analyses or PEST analysis which helps focus on the Political, Economic, Socio-Cultural and Technological environment.

Other problem solving tools include Porter’s Five Forces which CEO of BizTech, Liza van Wyk says, “aids in identifying whether new products, services or businesses have the potential to be profitable. It can also be very illuminating when used to understand the balance of power in other situations too.” Indeed, it is as effective in aiding political parties to gauge strengths, weaknesses and threats as businesses whether the corner spaza, a consultancy or a major corporate. Van Wyk says that, “Five Forces analysis assumes that there are five important forces that determine competitive power in a situation. They are supplier power, buyer power, competitive rivalry, threat of substitution or new entry.”

She says that faced with more than 1 000 delegates passing through courses in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town so far this year, “we realised that one of the greatest obstacles to growth for many individuals, companies and public sector organisations was many individuals in senior positions lacking the capacity to constructively address problems and either eliminate them, or turn them into tools for growth. We assembled as many problem solving tools as possible to give participants appropriate mechanisms to resolve any challenge that comes up in private or professional life. It is an incredibly stimulating, thought provoking and exciting course.”

Other problem solving tools include easy to follow information on how to construct flow charts, cause and effect diagrams and drill down techniques, among others.

Two simple techniques that can be applied to almost any situation are Appreciation and Five Whys.

Appreciation, van Wyk says, “is a very simple but powerful tool for extracting the maximum amount of information from a simple fact. Starting with a fact, as the question, “So what?” or what are the implications of that fact. Keep on asking that question until you have drawn all possible inferences – and voila, understanding dawns.

“The Five Whys was first used by Toyota in their Production System in the 1970’s, it involves looking at any problem and asking: “Why?” and “What caused this problem?” Very often the answer to the first why will prompt another why, which may prompt yet another until sense can be made of the real underpinning cause behind the present challenge.

“We have drawn from the best ways to approach solutions from some of the greatest minds and most powerful organisations, it is a course that can benefit every individual and all companies in South Africa,” van Wyk said

Biz Tech Fast Facts:
Biz Tech is an equal opportunity company.
Biz Tech courses include: Mastermind the Perfect Corporate Function; Finance and Budgets for PAs; Business Communication; Professional Office Manager; Project Management for PAs and Administrators, etcetera…


Issued by MediaOnLine mediaonline@global.co.za