Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: Make Better Decisions ✓

your future is nothing but the outcome of the decisions you make today right so you make better decisions today your future will be more prosperous you make the wrong ones and then your future will be full of struggles so today we're going to talk about a very interesting topic critical thinking and how it applies to problem solving I'll give you a weird analogy here so critical thinking as an ability is like having an infrared goggles right and looking at the sky at night you know without it you look at a space you see only three things right you see you see stars sometimes you see planets and you see darkness right but the moment you put on your infrared goggles then you get to see all these beautiful gas clouds you know giant gas clouds and the dust is so colorful right so you get to see the things that were previously impossible to see that's what critical thinking is it lets you identify the actual problems right the root causes but it also helps you see the opportunities now critical thinking isn't only obviously applicable at work right it's applicable to every single area of your life but my channel is all about your career so that's what we'll cover in this video now we need a framework right and the framework starts with a problem statement problem statement is very similar to a project charter you know it includes goals as in what are you trying to to achieve right your success criteria as in how will I know if I succeeded or or if I failed then you need assumptions you need timelines and stakeholders so this is this is very similar to a project charter I'm actually going to call it problem charter now this document is very helpful for two reasons and the second reason being a lot more important than the first one but let's start with the first one the first reason is very very helpful is because when you get engaged in that problem-solving mode you start uncovering a lot of other symptoms that may be caused by completely other causes right so we're not interested in them at the moment right you will document those but you're not going to develop solution alternatives right and develop action plans for those unless there are dependencies so it it helps you understand your your scope right and who to deal with the timelines it basically keeps everything sort of under control but to be honest in my decade-long consultant career I noticed that the biggest help of having such a project charter so a problem charter is all about moving through bureaucracy let me explain when you went through problem-solving stages you actually do a lot of work right I mean you're summing meetings you request data from where various departments you request for expertise from consultants so you're shaking things you're moving things around now what gives you the power to do that what gives you the power to call all these people to a meeting room what gives you the power to ask for certain analytics data from from completely other departments different departments right why should they attend that meeting or give you that data that you want because they like you they want to help you what if they don't like you right now if you're a senior employee you're a manager director VP then it's fine right I mean of course everyone will come into that meeting and give you the data you want but if you're not that senior right what if you're not that's here I mean where does your power come from it comes from that document the problem charter right corporate companies are they there they're not very agile usually right I mean they move slowly and the employees are usually very they're not lazy but they push back they don't want to stop what they're doing and join your little problem-solving brainstorming session and go through your little PowerPoint slides right or do a fishbone analysis I think that their only thing to worry about right so if you have a problem charter right only a few pages signed off by a sponsor someone senior right then you have the power to get the data you want and bring in the experts and call for the meetings and spend money for consultants that's where your power comes from okay now let's continue now you develop the problem statement you got your buy-in from someone senior and you're off to solving the problem good the second step in your critical thinking towards a problem is now identifying the root causes right we want to we want to look at the symptoms or the consequences and walk backwards and until we reach the root causes and there are various ways you can do this I mean you can use a fishbone analysis for relatively more complex problems or for simple problems you can have five why's now the five why why is is made famous by Toyota Toyota Production system and as the name suggests you you ask why why why until you get to a potential root cause very simple stuff but what is not so simple is knowing when to stop you see it's not necessarily at the first question because you can actually ask infinite amount of whys right there's always a layer down it never actually ends I mean if you have children then you probably know what I'm talking about so five is just an arbitrary number don't take it literally good let's run an example right it'll be crystal clear soon it's gonna be an actual problem it's actually a problem that got me into a lot of trouble in the past so the situation is that when I was at PETA we see consulting every time we have a downtime meaning when we're not doing the client work we would engaged in other other work like research and you know writing thought leadership pieces or delivering probe on or speeches or or or write proposals for new projects now there was this one time when I couldn't finish the proposal on time and as a result we couldn't submit the document to the client and clients or potential client excluded us from the bids now right there that's potentially a million dollar loss for the firm because if we could just submit I mean we would more probably win the project this whole thing entirely was was my mistake I was leaving the development I was the manager and I had two senior associates working for me so it was a big failure I mean I might stop real good it's really rare that anyone can say they cost their employer a million dollars I can and it's even probably more rare that they don't get fired I didn't and definitely a career milestone for me there nothing not something you can see on my CV though but anyway let's let's ask some wise right let's analyze why I messed up let's say apply the five why's so Dana says we couldn't deliver the proposal on time okay Dennis why mmm it took us more time than I expected why well I estimated the time requirements like how long it would take based on previous similar projects so I looked at the previous RFPs and the request for proposals and in our proposal development time and that's how I estimated mmm now stop because it's a dead end don't ask more wise because it's the best practice to – estimating the time requirements of a proposal based on the the previous two similar ones right so then is the this is such a weird example did the right thing right so because if you ask one more why it will be detrimental why did you look at the past rfp's because it's the best practice Oh see my point so it was the right action to take but it was implemented poorly so I did the right thing by looking at the previous RFP is but I did a poor job in terms of analyzing the scope of work I didn't realize there was a small part of the scope involved expertise in social security systems which I didn't know much about so uh so I had to work with our London team and then the whole communication back and forth I just wasted so much time right good let's run one more example let's do IT I'm not in IT but let's give give one example from IT let's say our software is slow in responding to inputs first why okay why because the server is overloaded why because we had a sudden peak in traffic why because we got featured in I take magazine and that resulted in massive traffic boost don't ask anymore you're done right I mean it will be idiotic to ask more wise why did you get featured in tech magazine it's a great thing for the business right cuz it makes no sense instead at that stage a better question to ask is why didn't we anticipate this and put in place the contingency capacity in our server right and if you ask that question then the answer to that would be negligence a human error hmm or lack of standard operating procedures like SOPs well whatever works but it's a different question at that moment now I want to talk more about finding root causes because if you noticed the problems I shared with you were fairly simple ones right I mean the the reason they were so simple was because there's a direct chain direct connection between the consequence and the root cause why because of X Y X because of debt why is that that's the root cause right so we it was fairly simple but in the real life it sort of happens that sometimes problems can't be found by looking at the consequences or the symptoms right the the root cause lies completely elsewhere right there's no direct link between the root cause and and and and the symptom so in those situations where do you even start right let me give you an example of a problem that we faced very recently that was actually a problem the the reason why of my absence from YouTube for a while let me share with you what happened and how we eventually identified the root cause it's it's a weird one now you probably already know about my allergy programs it's landing in twos guaranteed horrible name I know I don't know what I was thinking so I left PwC consulting around four months ago to fully focus on my allergy program and I usually spent you know most of my day day helping lig members get better jobs or past their interviews right it's an awesome program and I usually get about 10 to 15 new registrations every day and lig is the reason why this entire YouTube channel exists right so I can have an opportunity to talk about it which I should do more often anyways now about three weeks ago something really bad happened right I mean so having about 10 to 15 registrations every day all of a sudden we got to nothing and I know enrollees nothing comes the next day nothing third day again nothing for day again nothing you couldn't imagine how I felt right it's my livelihood I mean it's I I left a pretty amazing career with PhD and took a big risk with lig and the career mastery and it's all crashing down I think about how how it is at that moment for me it's like war mode so for about four days I can nothing more than five hours of sleep combined I was a walking zombie constantly asking why why why why right you know the Firefly is as well they became 500 wise 5,000 wise so our first question is this like is it is it the payment processor nope we tested it it worked fine is it the traffic is it traffic to the site down are people not coming nope they're up okay I mean we check Google Analytics it's all fine is that the server is the server down nope we checked the server logs it was all fine there was no downtime even in peak times I mean me and Jeanette we were we literally came up with more than 100 potential causes right and we ran tests tests for every single one of them no sleep for days nothing is crazy now after four days of constant struggle like constant effort I got really depressed no sleep nothing right so I didn't even know who to go to to solve this problem like who is the person that can help us understand so in my misery I went home to my sweet couch open up a bottle of vodka I grabbed the whole bottle you know to sit down and turned on my TV and literally I picked the most depressing movie of all time Hachiko if you're a dog owner I don't care if you're the toughest personal life that woman that movie will make you cry or eyes out it's that depressing so I started watching Hachiko and after watching an hour all of a sudden a very interesting idea came to my mind was I somehow hacked was like the whole thing was that i hack is sophisticated hack it was the hackers somehow made everything look normal to us right all the visitors from two cities I live in Dubai in Vancouver everything looked fine if you enter from those cities but anyone else who come to the site they would see a maintenance maintenance note sites I decided on a construction note they even put a weird video to make the visitors stay in the side a bit longer so I wouldn't understand by looking at the Google Analytics user behavior data we got hacked it took us four days to realize that and a bottle of vodka anyway I understood the root cause not because I follow the fishbone diagram or five whys I asked 500 wise 5,000 wise do you know why I was able to solve the problem and can you guess why that potential root cause popped in my head think about it let's get nerdy of it I was able to solve the problem because my brain waves changed I didn't do it purposely but I'm glad it did when I relaxed after four days and stopped focusing on the problem my brainwaves turned from being predominantly beta to alpha now you need to know this there are four types of brain frequencies right you know these are like the frequency bands so we have beta and beta is when your brain emits between 14 to 20 cycles per second of electrical impulse right then we have alpha which is between 17 sorry 7 to 14 cycles per second then we have theta and Delta and if we with data data you're going to deep sleep now the beta waves are what gives us the logical thinking the problem-solving right managing our daily activities beta is your like it's like your management consultant mmm but the problem is in crisis situations your beta waves going to overdrive right our heads have you know they have full of multiple thoughts competing for our attention is that the server is at the payment processor is it the domain is it the traffic look at the Google Analytics that's when you are very logical and analytical but when beta is an overdrive your creativity goes down to zero right so if there is no logical connection between the problem problem and the root cause then you will fail to create that bridge that's exactly what happens to me for four days straight no sleep nothing constantly problem solving mode right calling the server company the payment provider Google looking at user metrics and charts and the server logs constant battle hmm but then somehow when I relaxed the fourth day in my couch the brain relaxed and it started emitting electrical pulses in alpha frequency was done with beta and alpha brainwaves are the bridge between our conscious and subconscious mind mmm alpha brainwave is like it's like Steve Jobs right your creative side and the beta is like your management consultant so it's the way is responsible for bringing that great idea from the back of your head right it just pops up so that's that's what happened and and that beta waves so alpha waves all of a sudden created this absurd suggestion I got hacked what hmm that's interesting now the example is done let's continue with our framework and let's briefly talk about developing and evaluating alternatives let's go back to the proposal example right so we identify the problem and the root cause was the fact that I wrongly estimated how long it would take to prepare the proposal right I look at the past examples fine but I didn't properly analyze the scope of work now let's move on to the third stage in our problem solving which is the fact that we need to develop a few solution alternatives so in our example the objective is to make sure that it never happens again that I or any of the managers never miss a single submission date or for for proposals so let's write down a few alternatives right so alternative one I'm hurryin right so alternative one we can add twenty percent contingency time continuous time reserve to all future proposals so if we think it's going to take four days then we can schedule five days for the proposal development right alternative – we can hire a proposal manager someone who will help us develop the proposals on time you know that person is going to be like a project manager mmm not a bad idea another alternative is we can add more resources to the proposal development team for example if it is one manager and two senior associates it could be one manager and three or four senior associates now which of these alternatives right the amount of the three is the best one think about it can you evaluate you can't not yet because to evaluate anything we need criteria in this situation I'll have four criteria the first one is the potential impact in the positive one right and then the second one is the potential threat the complete opposite and the third one could be maybe ease of implementation and the final one would be maybe alignment with our overall strategy and just a deep note here you may also assign weight scores to each criterion for example you may want to give more weight towards ease of implementation you know then alignment with strategy it's depends on your needs so we'll be like 30% wait for for impact 30% wait for potential threats 35% wait for ease of implementation and 5% wait for the alignment with strategy so from the potential future impact perspective I see no difference between the alternatives they will all get the job done not necessarily better or worse probably but from a potential threat perspective hiring a new person is costly right it's a cost intensive solution so it'll cost us another hundred thousand dollars a year whether it whether or not it justifies we don't know at this stage and the other one is the ease of implementation and now from the ease of implementation standpoint adding the alternative a are the first one adding twenty percent time contingency is the easiest one I mean this means these teams team members will get back to their projects just a day later right instead of four days for five days and that's also not certain right it's just a contingency we may never tap into that extra day so once we run the complete evaluation the overall winner is recommendation a which is adding twenty percent contingency time reserve in our schedules no we're not Diane's we know the winner the final stage in our problem solving is to create an implementation plan or an action plan now this is super simple in our case your case may be different but in our case all we need to do is send out an internal memo to all the relevant parties all the partners and the managers whoever is doing the proposals and let them know about the new procedure or or we may need to update our manuals or SOP standard operating procedures that's it but if the action plan you need to take is more complicated then you need to approach it as a project and run it as a project I have I have a video on project management fundamentals so if you haven't watched it before it's really good just search that video in my channel okay we're almost done let me just quickly recap start with the problem statement the problem charter right we do that because we want to get a buy-in so we can use the resources and move things around right we have the power step to identify the root causes there are various techniques available to here including the fishbone and the five wise and many others but for most simple projects you can always do five wise but remember not to take it literally five is just an arbitrary number step three is develop potential solutions just jot them down right don't think about whether they would work or not not not at this stage step four evaluate these alternatives based on the criteria you developed such as potential threat impact ease of implementation whatever works for you and you might also put different weighting structure there and the final one is executed so if it's something simple don't complicate it just send out a memo update the manual if it's a complex solution then treat it as a project we've done thank you for your time I really appreciate it and I hope you benefited from this video see you next week

38 thoughts on “Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: Make Better Decisions ✓”

  1. ✅Watch Next: The Hidden Secrets of a Successful Career!

  2. Good stuff, really useful and great content from a down to earth guy who is not taking himself too seriously 🙂

  3. I have been following you and enjoy your coaching.. I have a strange question that I have not found in your videos.. Is there a time in the interviewing process when you find that this is just not the job for you? I have been interviewing for a job I was pretty excited about this morning after following to the letter you advise in your interviewing videos as well as your video on thank you letters to the hiring manager I have had to date 4 interviews .. I was told that there was another great candidate and the choice was very hard to make.. I know they are interviewing him today..This morning I was asked to have another interview with a friend of the hiring manager.. For tomorrow .. I of course said this is no problem.. However when I hung up the phone i was overwhelmed with the gut feeling that i no longer wanted the job..very strange seeing as I have really fought hard for it.. I can say I have never had this happen before..what is wrong with me???..Somehow I feel like they are just looking for any reason to pass me over.. So they will ask me will interview with half of the western world until someone gives me the thumbs down. In addition I am starting to question the competence of a hiring manager that needs this much input for others.. this guy also seems to have a issue with licencing i hold in other non competitive Fields. (and no i have no intention of giving that licensing up) guess I am asking is there a reason to get to the end of the process or close and saying.. never mind best of luck with your other candidate.. So is it smart to listen to your gut or am i being self destructive?

  4. Thank you. Most of the people on Youtube create bone head content. I am glad I clicked this video. I am so grateful for your video. It isn't every day I actually come across a video that is based in something intelligent. Youtube has mostly clowns and people who have almost no substance.

  5. i.have anywhere. but.i.owe you a big big thank you you.shared They are so.practical. thank you. I.have had.many.interviews and.all.employers jave expressed strong not only because of my qualifications but.more.importantly my.confidence.and charisma.when.i.was giving.the.speech. I just.received an.offer.from.this.dream company.

  6. Either you don't have enough ITs or Dev or they aren't good enough. I have a comsci bg and after hearing you said that after 500 why's and checking analytics and all the first thing I thought was hack or at least someone is trying to block your form so no one can enter or something like what happened to us, someone created a fake website using everything we have, they totally duplicated our website and the only difference is the URL and they are posting and sending the fake website everywhere 🙂

  7. i'm from india. I have fully inspired by your speech. i want to improve myself by getting a job in well established company. please make a path.

  8. absolutely love the relevancy and correlation of the brain waves and their roles applied to business. That's what really drew me in and felt confident in your merit. thank you sir I am hoping to apply some of your knowledge entering the management field again from collecting cans on the streets to being hired as receiving/stocker associate  , to promoted to key holder manager to unemployed for five months and now interviewing for asst. manager in a similar retail environment.

  9. excellent.

    I need ur help.
    Pls create a video on a school head mistress
    And administrator

    how manage people and critical thinking

  10. Thanks for awesome ideas and strategies. Please share more stories like the story you shared your site hacked

  11. Great video. I think the video presentation is just the visible tip of iceberg, what we dont see is the experience, insight and subject knowledge hidden from view.

  12. Hey Deniz. Just saw on LinkedIn that it's your birthday today. Have a good one! And thanks for the valuable advice you have been providing.

  13. awesome topic and advice
    critical thinking approach helped u and it helps us too.
    how will u learn if u dont make mistakes. but it comes with a catch. learn from experiences like Sir Deniz sasal shared with us.
    because we dont a have lifetime to make others mistake our own.
    situation might be different but the problem remains same. focus on the problem and its nature with analytical thinking.
    even though he din't sleep for days. he still made this wonderful video for us.
    i respect the motivation u give us and hard – work to make the world better place for us.
    thank u

  14. Bought LIG; and Deniz has been a valuable support in my job hunt – I would recommend his LIG initiative to everyone.

  15. Thanks, Deniz, yet another simplified and well-structured lesson. I'm delighted with the level of service you offer over and above my LIG subscription, what an outstanding investment for now and the future! Keep this up, you are doing a great job in supporting 000's of people requiring a credible mentor. Personally I'm a transitioning Veteran from the UK MOD so you are supporting a great cause!

  16. Sorry for what happened to your channel. Hopefully you can outsmart these hackers and block them with a robust firewall. Very happy to see another great video👌 by the amazing, Deniz!!!

  17. If youtube allows to like a video many times, I'll keep liking this awsome video all the time!
    Thank you Deniz!

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