Fishbone Purgatory (runaway divergence)

We received this question from a recent graduate of our Systematic Problem-Solving (SPS) workshop:

“Our organization is a supplier to the U.S. Military.  We are required to submit a Fishbone Diagram for problems they and others refer back to us for resolution.  We even have whiteboards in our team meeting rooms upon which the Fishbone Diagram is permanently embedded to remind us to always use this approach. What do you suggest?”

Of course, we recognize you must give your customer what they want!  Just don’t let this be the only thing you do.  It is possible to rapidly create a Fishbone that covers all the necessary categories.  Then, be sure to avoid Fishbone Purgatory by completing the BPI SPS Problem-Solving analysis.  The completed Fishbone will assure your customer you considered a wide range of potential causes.  The SPS analysis will enable you to converge and verify the true cause of the problem.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with why there is a need for our non-Fishbone approach to resolving problems, please read the continuation of this discussion in the article:

Critical Thinking GAP. Its been 40 years! Wake-up academia!

TEACHERS! Ask for help when you need it!  (This email was sent to us by a concerned citizen.)

“My reading of the 1999 article by Professor Diane F. Halpern then of CSU San Bernardino, CA. left me wondering when academia will wakeup and admit they have failed to fix a problem that almost everyone else sees as their primary responsibility- teaching students to think clearly about their actions in the world benefiting from the wisdom of others and making their own reasoned evaluation of complex situations with depth and understanding. Professor Halpern writes, “Critical thinking is purposeful, reasoned, and goal directed” extolling the progress colleges have made over the past decade (since 1980’s).  Purposeful and goal directed seem like the same thing to me but that’s not important here.   As we reach 2020 we do see students who shout down others and who blast whistles to drown out speakers with whom they disagree.  This is purposeful and goal directed student behavior – mission accomplished!  These “students” are not engaging in rational dialogue with those “others”.

To me they seem more like objects bewitched by sorcerer apprentices (teachers, professors, activists) from public school through whatever college level they attained.  They have learned their lessons well.  They are as sophisticated as a child who screams “bloody murder” when they can’t get the coveted candy bar they seek at the grocery store.   This newest crop of legal adults appear to resort immediately to bullying, threats, and harassment as tools to get what they want, not listening, discussing, or reasoning. And they surely are not out to learn anything (random chance forbid!)

How does this skill-set toddlers naturally possess translate into helping organizations, public or private, provide a product or service to others or even making the world a kinder, better place?  It doesn’t.  Organizations are noticing the gap between what jobs demand and what skills college graduates have. Rights properly understood enable us to fulfill our responsibilities.  (Thank you Jordan Peterson, Ph.D.)  I remind these students that rights are not a credit card for benefits to the good life the rest of us must pay off.

Some questions for your blog participants to respond to:

* Who is running the colleges and universities now?  What is the dominant emotion?

* What is the purpose of the institutions the students are attending?

* What roll does history, ethics, philosophy and civics play in being educated?

* What role could valuing understanding, the contributions of others, and humility play in making the world a better place – even for those that our child-like adults have learned to shut-down by force?