Advanced Approaches to Problem Solving
According to our bank, children can only have one parent.
When creating a kid’s bank account, we can only include one guardian. Why? According to the banker, it’s too difficult to set up more than one guardian, so the system doesn’t allow it.
This rule means only one parent can make inquiries or transactions on behalf of our kids. And with four kids getting older and using their accounts more, that’s a problem.
Unfortunately, there’s no mechanism set up to communicate the issue with the people who built the system. So how will this customer experience problem ever be solved? It probably won’t.
Today’s reflection is about solving problems - getting beyond identifying the problem, mental models that help you solve problems by rethinking your assumptions, and how your mindset can impact the decisions made during problem solving.
Is Your Team Solving Problems, or Just Identifying Them? by Rebecca Knight. We all have had colleagues that can’t discuss solutions without pointing out more and more problems. In this article, Rebecca provides some practical tips for getting beyond identifying problems to come up with solutions.
Mental models by Julian Shapiro. Julian perfectly balances the theory of mental models with the practical utility of them. I can attest to the prevalence of mental models - or frameworks that support how we think through decisions and problems - at Amazon. This article breaks down the mental models that can help optimize a system, those appropriate for making immediate to long-term decisions, and the ones Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos have used to make massive decisions. Well worth the time to read the entire article - and don’t miss the insightful quotes!
‘The Scout Mindset’ Review: How to ‘Update’ Beliefs by Michael Shermer. When deciding how to solve problems, we need to have the right mindset. Shermer cites a military metaphor Julia Galef uses in her book “The Scout Mindset” to describe two different mindsets. The soldier mindset puts us in protection mode, fighting for our beliefs as a prized possession and seeing the idea of being wrong as defeat. The scout mindset seeks to discover truth through evidence, working to discover accurate representations of reality. The individual’s mindset impacts decision making because decisions are rarely made with perfect information or certainty. Ambiguity and uncertainty create a situation in which scouts - the truth seekers - thrive.
This article was originally published in Megan Gilhooly’s Friday Reflection, where she shares her unique perspective on recent events and how they pertain to customer experience, content strategy and business leadership. Megan is VP of Customer Experience at Zoomin and previously led global content teams at AWS, Amazon and Ping Identity. You can subscribe to her weekly newsletter here.