Life

ow to Solve Problems Like a Great Person: Don’t Rely on Experience

  On your growth path, whether in career or life, you will definitely encounter encounters one after another, which happen suddenly without greeting or rehearsal. It may be that there is a sudden and sharp decline in performance, it may be that the defective rate of products increases significantly, or there may be a sudden increase in complaints, etc.
  How do you deal with these sudden encounters? The difference between ordinary and excellent is reflected in the way of coping. Ordinary people can only see the phenomena of things, but excellent people can always see the essence of things through the phenomena.
  How can you solve problems like a great person? Based on experience?
  During World War II, the Allied bombers suffered heavy losses, and a small number of aircraft that returned had their wings riddled with bullet holes. The Allies decided to add steel armor to some parts of the aircraft under limited conditions to protect the lives of pilots and improve combat effectiveness. But where to add it? Based on experience, since the wings are full of bullet holes, the part that needs to be strengthened most should be the wings. Therefore, the commander decided to strengthen the wings with steel armor.
  At this time, a statistician who served as an adviser to the Allied Forces said: “Commander, you see that the wing can still fly back after being hit by bullets. Maybe it is because it is very strong. The nose and tail of the aircraft were not hit by bullets. Maybe it is because it is so strong.” Because once these parts are hit, the plane will not be able to fly back.”
  The commander was shocked and quickly sent troops to the battlefield to inspect the wreckage of the plane. Sure enough, all the planes that were shot down were shot in the nose and tail. The plane flying back may not know why it was not shot down. Only the plane that was shot down knows. However, the downed plane could never speak again.
  Ordinary people decided to strengthen the wing steel armor based on the “experience” of the aircraft that flew back. But good people will see the essence through the phenomenon and know that the downed planes should be shot in the nose or tail. Relying on “experience” is sometimes really unreliable.
  Some people would say that this is “survivor bias” because the statistical sample is incomplete. As long as we consider more comprehensively when analyzing problems and looking for successful experiences, we will not make such mistakes.
  Is it really? Are all “successful experiences” really reliable?
  More than 10 years ago, as a Microsoft employee, I was sometimes invited to share Microsoft’s experience in developing software. One of the most important points is: one development is equipped with two tests. Many people were enlightened after hearing this, saying that Microsoft is so powerful because this is how it develops software.
  About 10 years later, I shared the “one development with two tests” method with others, and many people began to despise Microsoft. In their view, Microsoft is outdated and everything they say is wrong. One development with two tests? Too wasteful of resources, too inflexible, too inefficient…
  there are many such examples.
  When we encounter problems and look for solutions, we often believe in other people’s successful experiences. Others’ successful experiences are of course important, but are the methods he shared with you really the experiences that made him successful? Is it suitable for us?
  I suggest that when you encounter problems and difficulties, you can use the “hypothesis-verification-conclusion-adjustment” method.
  When encountering a problem, first make a bold assumption, then verify it, draw a conclusion, and finally make adjustments based on the conclusion. For example, the case of “World War II aircraft” mentioned earlier. In order to solve the problem of which part to add steel armor to avoid being shot down, we can simulate it according to this methodology.
  Hypothesis: Steel armor should be added to the wings.
  Verification: Check to see if the downed aircraft has many bullet marks on its wings.
  The conclusion was drawn: The downed aircraft had many bullets in its head and tail, but not many in its wings. Adding steel armor to the wings would have little effect.
  Make adjustments based on the conclusion: add steel armor on the nose and tail of the aircraft.
  This is a simple application of the methodology of “hypothesis-verification-conclusion-adjustment”. Through this method, we can find out which part of the aircraft should add steel armor.
  The essence of this methodology is to go to great lengths and trouble to verify the hypothesis, then draw conclusions and finally make adjustments.
  When using this methodology, I suggest you pay attention to one thing: discuss the matter as it is and don’t be swayed by your position.
  We often say that when discussing something, we should address the issue rather than the person. For example, the company’s products could not be sold, so the leaders of various departments held a meeting to discuss the reasons. The product department said that sales channels, marketing, etc. were not done well; the sales department said that the advertising was not loud enough and many people did not know about the product; the quality department said that the production department did not strictly follow the operation instructions… This kind of nonsense, The phenomenon of kicking the ball often occurs in many companies.
  No matter how long such a quarrel meeting lasts, no consensus can be reached and no solution can be found. Therefore, in order to truly solve the problem, everyone must analyze the problem with an attitude toward the problem rather than the person.
  Assuming that sales are not selling well, then we need to verify whether all salespeople are not selling well, or only some salespeople are not selling well. If nearly half of the sales staff perform well, it means that it is not a problem with the new product. Perhaps the new product’s sales methods and speaking skills have not been trained in place.
  We can test assumptions one by one, draw conclusions, and then make adjustments.
  When using this methodology, you must proceed from the facts, deal with the matter rather than the person, and do not be influenced by your own and other people’s interests and positions. Because facts are more reliable.

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