We all get to organize our toolboxes however we want. At home we can even just scatter our tools
around in our garage if we like. I used to arrange my tools in this manner.
When my son got old enough I started showing him how to use
my tools in the garage. He learned quickly
and my garage soon became the repair center for all his friends’ bicycles and
later their dirt bikes.
This was great except I often couldn’t find my tools. I was often reduced to trying to remember where I had last seen my son and his friends doing repairs. My son and I found that we had to organize the tools and become disciplined about putting them away.
Now consider your brain as a toolbox that you keep your mental troubleshooting tools in. When we try to share our ideas while troubleshooting we often don’t communicate effectively because our individual toolboxes (brains) are organized differently. In fact we really understand so little about how we mentally solve problems that we are not really sure that we use the same tools let alone organize them in the same way.
This class is a toolbox for troubleshooting. Most importantly it is a shared toolbox. It may or may not be like the toolbox in your head. But after this class you will be able to sort through your individual tool boxes and organize that information inside of this common framework.
I originally started with methods that I and other craftsmen that I had worked used to solve problems. One day while talking with another instructor he said my ideas reminded him of a medical TV show called “House”. About another year later my instructor in a small business class said the same thing!
I ended up researching how doctors solve problems. I also studied how detectives solve problems. And finally I studied how scientists solve problems. The common threads that I discovered in all of these professions are the basis for the overall structure of this troubleshooting class.
One major outcome of this class is an increase in the common ground that we share with our coworkers. Regardless of how we internally organize our own thoughts, when we need to communicate them, we can rely on the common terminology, concepts and framework that are spelled out in this class.