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Classifying the Problem

By far the most common mistake is to treat a generic situation as if it were a series of unique events.

Executives face four basic types of problems:

  1. Generic events that are common within the organization and throughout the industry
  2. Generic events that are unique for the organization but common throughout the industry
  3. Truly unique events
  4. Events that appear to be unique but are really the first appearance of a new generic problem

All but the truly unique event requires a generic solution. Generic problems can be answered with standard rules and practices. Once the right principle has been developed, all manifestations of the same generic event can be handled by applying the standard principle. All the executive must do is adapt the principle to the concrete circumstances of the specific problem. Unique events, however, require a unique solution and must be treated individually. Truly unique events are quite rare; someone else has solved virtually every problem an organization faces already. Applying a standard rule or principle can solve most types of problems.

ACTION POINT: Cite an example of a problem you are facing that ahs a generic solution to it. What is that solution? Cite a problem you facing that requires a unique solution. Develop the unique solution by following the rules for effective decision-making.

The Effective Executive
The Elements of Decision Making (Corpedia Online Program)

* Source: The Daily Drucker by Peter F. Drucker

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