Problem Finding/Reassessing What is True

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Discovering the real problem requires us to embrace reality and determine what is true.

An essential step in problem finding is to ask and accurately answer the question “What is True?”

Go on to ask and answer:

  • What do we know?
  • What else do we know?
  • How do we know?
  • What are we unsure of?
  • What do we not know?
  • What are our assumptions?

Use this list of questions to reassess your perception and understanding of the present situation—how things are now.

The key reassessment question is: “What is true?” or equivalently “What are the facts?”

Many of the courses in the clear thinking curriculum can help you discover what is true.

Begin by embracing reality.

  1. Describe the what is true. Describe the present state as you currently understand it.
  2. Is that present understanding complete and accurate?
    1. How do you know?
  3. How accurate is the information we are working from?
    1. What are the sources?
      1. How reliable are they?
      2. What is the evidence?
    2. What is the conflicting information?
    3. What do we not know?
  4. Is our current understanding based on reality (direct observation and objective assessment) or on perceptions (interpretations by ourselves or others)?
    1. What alternative interpretations are possible?
      1. How can the problem be reframed?
    2. In what ways have our perceptions been constructed?
  5. Are we fully embracing reality?
    1. Are we facing facts?
    2. Are the assessments based on true beliefs?
      1. How do you know?
    3. Have we adequately investigated?
      1. What was discovered?
    4. Have we carefully examined evidence?
    5. What contrary evidence is there?
    6. Have we examined this perception while wearing each of the six thinking hats?
    7. What else is true?
    8. What are the uncertainties?
  6. Are we being captivated and misled by inaccurate perceptions?
    1. What are our assumptions, premise, and presumptions?
    2. Challenge those assumptions.
      1. Are they reliable, accurate, and applicable to this situation?
    3. Identify your unique point of view.
    4. Identify and adopt other points of view
    5. Do we recognize that perceptions are personal?
    6. Adjust the scope you are considering
      1. Consider a variety of time frames
        1. Immediate,
        2. Short term,
        3. Intermediate term,
        4. Long term
      2. Consider a variety of system extents
        1. Single elements or components
        2. Direct interconnections between elements
        3. What systems is this a part of?
        4. All connections
          1. Interactions
          2. Externalities
    7. What constructs is this a part of?
      1. Mental constructs
      2. Social Constructs.
  7. What misinformation is in play?
    1. What don’t we know?
    2. What disinformation is misleading us?
    3. What false beliefs are we clinging to?
    4. What hasty conclusions are we making?
    5. What misunderstandings are we working from?
    6. What miscommunications have taken place?
  8. In what ways are we accepting solution statements as problem statements?
  9. What are our blind spots?
    1. What are we failing to imagine?
      1. How is our focus too narrow?
    2. What habits, traditions, or customs are blinding us to a more complete understanding?
    3. What worldview have we adopted?
      1. How are we being misled by motivated reasoning?
      2. How are we being misled by confirmation biases?
      3. How are we being misled by cognitive biases?
      4. How are we being misled by prejudices?
      5. How are we being misled by egocentrism?
    4. What taboos are limiting our thinking?
    5. What illusions are misleading us?
      1. What fears are we imagining?
      2. How is pessimism limiting our imagination?
      3. What introjected regulations are inhibiting us?
    6. What false narratives are misleading us?
      1. What dominant narrative is operating?
  10. How do we know?

For critically important decisions, convene a murder board and learn from their findings.