Calculated Problem Solving | A Structured Process

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People and Their Problem Solving Styles

By Dr. Shawn A. Noble 

This is part two of a three-part series on problem solving

When it comes to problem solving, empowering them with decision rights is critical to fixing the problem. And, although it is vital to involve many people in the problem-solving process, it is also important to have clear identification of the person who owns the problem to solve. Yet, there is also an equally important factor that goes beyond the role of the person in the organization, which is the style that a person uses to solve problems.

Style relates to a preferred method of doing something. Just like the choices that we make with clothing, the preference is not permanent nor innate. In other words, problem-solving style is highly influenced by the environment. This is great news as problem-solving styles can be taught to and adapted by employees.

Research has identified the following 4 types of problem-solving styles:

  1. Generators (big picture thinkers)
  2. Conceptualizers (problem definers and ideators)
  3. Optimizers (guide order from chaos)
  4. Executors (get stuff done)

Note, we all are a blend of each of these styles, yet we all demonstrate a stronger preference for at least one of them. Each of the styles has pros and cons, which can create disharmony in organizations, as people favor a certain way to approach a problem. No one style is better than any other; yet, the catch is that all 4 styles are necessary to implement an effectively solution.

Are you aware of the problem-solving style of yourself and your fellow employees? Furthermore, do you understand the strengths and weaknesses of each style and how each style can be effectively activated?

In the third and final part of this blog, we will look at the importance of having a solid process to solve your firm’s problems. Read part 3 now.

For more information concerning services for law firms by Dr. Shawn Noble please go to or contact Law Firm Coach uses the concept of ideation or creative thinking to develop common sense law firms that withstand the test of time.