In my management classes, I teach students the basic six-step decision making process. You know: identify the problem, develop some decision criteria, generate solution options, evaluate the options, choose the one that satisfies the most criteria, and implement and measure.

Then I ask, “what if you get to the end and find you haven’t actually solved the problem? What should you do?” Most students say things like, “start over” or, “choose a different option”.

The best, and most efficient, approach, though, is to work backward through the process.

What if you just bungled the implementation? You wouldn’t want to start all over and use additional and unnecessary resources. You might even end up creating an entirely new problem.

Sometimes you find you do have to go all the way back to step one because you got the problem wrong. But for all the more common times that it’s an interim step that needs attention, it’s worth going backward for the efficiency.

Where do you need to re-trace your steps today?


Progress isn’t made by early risers. It’s made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.

-Robert A. Heinlein


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Craig A. Escamilla
Craig A. Escamilla
Craig Escamilla helps you find solutions before problems exist. With fifteen years of consulting, teaching, and senior management experience, Craig brings a wealth of practical expertise to helping others work on rather than in their businesses.

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