Proposing a solution: Strain the peas!

straining the peas
Ever had a workplace squeeze where you had to propose a course of action for your team or department?
Where do you start? How do you organise your thinking to get it right?
Here's an easy to remember technique that might come in handy when you are asked to write a position paper or outline a proposal for a course of action or solution.  A former colleague taught me the technique many years ago and I have used it ever since.  Here is what he shared.  Think about the issue around themes, each beginning with the letter "P".

1: The first "P" is for Position. It describes the present circumstances. . Keep this bit short.  It's an introduction to the issue - a "Where we are now" statement.
2: You are probably having to suggest a course of action because something isn't quite right.  That brings us to the second "P" - the problem.  State this as objectively as possible, sticking to the facts.
3: What might happen as a result of this problem? What's the worst case scenario, the least and the ones in between? Take a moment and consider the next "P" - the possibilities.  Again be as objective as possible and try not to get too worked up about the negative impacts of the problem.
4: Most of the possibilities are unlikely to materialise but there are some that probably well.  That brings us to the next "P" - probabilities.  Get a sense of those and write them down.
That's a fair bit of analysis so far but make sure it doesn't lead to another kind of "P" - paralysis.  Now's the time to think solutions.
5: Based on the points that you have considered so far: Position | Problem | Possibilities | Probabilities move to make your last "P" - proposals. This is the time to be action-focussed. Make your proposals, get a decision and go for it!
It can be a tighter workplace squeeze if you have been asked to keep this to a single side of A4 but with a bit of practice you could probably be quite effective there too.
The technique is also useful when thinking on your feet to verbalise a solution.
Think of those "P"s, keep it simple and strain them.

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