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Analytical Thinking: Problem-Solving and Decision-Making

Course Length:  2-days

Course Description

We all make decisions and solve problems continually.  Business today requires everyone to effectively solve problems leading to appropriate and profitable decisions.  Thinking skills may seem natural, but they are not necessarily intuitive and they may not come naturally.  A good foundation of thinking skills involves analytic thinking and problem solving, breaking problems down into their component parts.  Effective problem solving involves deductive reasoning drawing conclusions from givens, and applying judgments to reach conclusions from a combination of collected evidence and assumptions.

Course Objectives

In this two-day workshop you will learn to:

  • Apply problem solving steps and tools
  • Analyze information to clearly describe problems
  • Identify appropriate solutions
  • Think creatively and be a contributing member of a problem solving team
  • Select the best approach for making decisions
  • Create a plan for implementing, evaluating, and following up on decisions
  • Avoid common decision-making mistakes


The following may be helpful:  A3 Development and Management Process, Emotional Intelligence, Communication Skills for the Workplace, Improve Your Listening Skills – Ask Effective Questions

Course Outline

Lesson 1:  Definitions

  • Defining problem solving and decision making
  • Problem identification
  • Eight essentials to defining a problem
  • Problem solving in action

Lesson 2:  Making Decisions

  • What it means
  • Types of decisions
  • Facts vs. information
  • Decision-making traps

Lesson 3:  Getting Real

  • Case study

Lesson 4:  The Problem Solving Model

  • Model overview
  • Real Problems
  • Phase one
  • Phase two
  • Phase three

Lesson 5:  Case Study

Lesson 6:  The Problem Solving Toolkit

  • The basic tools
  • The Fishbone
  • Degrees of support
  • Creative thinking methods
  • Brainstorming and Brainwriting
  • Additional methods

Lesson 7:  Aspirinia

  • Decision information
  • Individual action steps
  • Group planning
  • Class exercise

Lesson 8:  Swotting Up

  • SWOT analysis
  • Individual analysis

Lesson 9:  Making Good Group Decisions

  • Working toward the decision
  • Avoiding fatal mistakes

Lesson 10:  Analyzing and Selecting Solutions

  • Selecting criteria
  • Creating a cost benefit analysis

Lesson 11:  Planning and Organizing

  • Follow up analysis
  • Evaluate
  • Adapt, close and celebrate

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