Monday, March 3, 2008

Looking Around Corners

I recently just finished reading “Looking Around Corners: The art of problem prevention” by Andrew Dubrin. There were points in the book that I really liked and agreed with. Basically the author aims to provide the reader with some tactics to avoid common pitfalls and problems, as well as teach mechanisms that will enable the reader to learn to avoid potential problems on their own.

A couple of the ideas that I thought were particularly interesting was the use of visualization to both picture both potential problems and solutions. Also the author touched on investigating true causes and not fixing the superficial problems or indicators, which I feel is important. At one point he asks the read to ask why 5 times. Each time you get closer to the root of the problem. He also talks about double loop learning. The problem may be in assumptions that you take for granted, and one must think about what underlies the problem as much as the problem.

For groups they recommend starting the team with 3 actions: sharing who they are, what they have to contribute, what they do outside of work (interests / hobbies), and finally concerns and thoughts about joining the group. I thought this was a fascinating way to put the resistance out front – though I think the answers to the last could be very predictable.

Finally, I thought it was good that they talked of unintended consequences. Sometimes a solution that works creates other problems. Have a sale to raise sales in the first quarter, can affect the sales in the second quarter. Choosing a construction method might be great in the shop and next to impossible to transport…. Thinking through not just the solution, but the potential of future problems is important as well.

All in all it was a decent book. Easy to read, though a little dry at times.

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