Modern problem solving methods such as Six-Sigma MAIC, or Quality Control PDSA or Fishbone chart, etc may have the details, but they generally lack the coverage of the Ancient Chinese Philosophies. Here is a complete guide to strategizing and problem solving from design to creating lasting change is given in Chapter 10 Stratagem of the book written by Gui Gu Zi. A series of Mind-Maps is shown here for your ease of understanding and application.Some background and previous chapters of Gui Gu Zi the book can be found in The Original Spin Doctor - Gui Gu Zi on Open & Close, The Persuasive Dialogues for Being the Best Lawyer..Gui Gu Zi 2, Progress Comes from Getting Your Proposals Adopted - Gui Gu Zi C3 Shows Us How, Detect & Fix It Before It Cracks Up by Gui Gu Zi C4 Overcoming Crack, Bait first and then Catch is the Better Way says Gui Gu Zi C5.
As I was very busy wirh the writing and teaching of Sun Zi's Art of War, I thought it is beneficial to look up a chapter on strategy in the Book of Gui Gu Zi. That is Chapter 10 Stratagem. Below is a series of mind maps that explain it.
The 8 Key Steps for Strategy or Problem Solving
The 8 keys give a comprehensive coverage of the issues to be addressed as you strategize and present your proposal for adoption. Besides addressing the issues, understanding and assignment of people, human factors, the general guide is to follow principles centered and moral values to have long lasting solutions.
2 The Progress of Problem Solving
Some problems happen and trigger the whole process to find the solutions to fix the problem, and at its best, fix it permanently. It is best to design and build a system to fix it. Get it institutionalize so that it needs not depend on the consistency of people. Get it internalized in the people so that they practice it automatically without conscious effort!
3 Synergize: Six Personalities & Their Assignments
People are different and they come without different capabilities and attributes. The wise leader understand the personalities of his men and assign them the jobs that best suit their abilities.
4 Getting Support - Key Issues
Any proposed solution needs to get the buy-in and support from the various stakeholders. Here is a big list of issues that need to be addressed so get your buy-in needed to ensure success.
5 Getting Support - Human Factors
Engineers tend to be too logical and rational. But it is the people that give their approval, support, and doing the work. Hence, human factors, the social & psychological perspectives must be addressed too.
6 Power over Others
To get things done, you need the authority and the power. The best power is willingness of the people involved. Be sure you touch their hearts that they can support you even at their own risks. Initial motivation is stronger than external forces. See Point 5 on such factors again.
7 Wise vs Fool - Open or Hidden
The best change management you can do is to do it without People awareness! The least number of people that need to be involved and to known is best. Those that need to be involved should be tidely linked up. Those that are not involved but are affected by the change, it is best to keep the change hidden from them. Things just get better without they knowing about them. They would not feel any stress or fear for the change that you made.
8 Long term Partnership
If you want to have your proposed solution adopted and last over time, then you need to follow the unchanging principles and values such as righteousness and fairness. Knowledge and things changes, but good values like love, righteousness, good manners, integrity, fairness, change not with time nor with people. Stick to such values. Make the change last by sticking to the Way of Nature and make it automatic or natural with people.
Hope the above help you in your strategizing or finding solutions to fix the problems that you encounter. Let us know of your success formulas as well.
Lim Liat (c) 10 July 2015
See also: Wise Decision Making with Gui Gu Zi Chapter 11