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Critical Reasoning -- Question & Answer Listing  
Viewing 1-8 of 8 Knowledge Entries
Question / Answer

Question:
As a leader of an Army volunteer organization, how do I know what rules and/or regulations apply to a problem I may have?

Answer:
If your organization doesn’t have it’s own regulation or Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) that lists rules, laws, and/or regulations that you must follow, there are a number of resources you can use to find this information. Ask someone in your chain of command for guidance and/or check with your community’s Volunteer Coordinator. Also, most Army volunteer organizations have advisors who should be knowledgeable about this information. You could also check with the Legal Services Office and/or Finance for their help. Other sources include your local library and the Internet. Most Department of Defense (DoD) directives, Army regulations, and other official publications are accessible via the Internet.

Question:
As a mentor, what can I do to I get my mentee to solve his/her own problems?

Answer:
One of the objectives of most mentor-mentee relationships is for the mentees to become a more confident, self-reliant individuals, who feel empowered to individually solve problems on their own and take on higher-level leadership positions. This is accomplished through the advice, support, encouragement, and relating of experiences given by the mentor. Mentors should not solve mentees problems for them, but give them the tools they need to solve them on their own. Demonstrate trust to build their confidence and encourage them to take on new challenges – no matter how big or small they are. These are just a few ideas. Check with the references provided for more information on this subject.

Question:
How are personal “frames of reference” developed?

Answer:
A personal frame of reference refers to the set of one’s own norms and values that affect the way an individual perceives and processes information. People develop their own set of values and norms over time as their parents, friends, co-workers and other people or things in their life influence them. An individual’s personal frame of references shapes the way he/she responds to situations and determines how the individual interacts with others and reacts to situations in life.

Question:
How can I develop Lessons Learned from an After Action Report?

Answer:
The purpose of an After Action Report is to provide an outline of the steps taken to plan a specific event or activity and typically includes a summary of how successful the event or activity was. The After Action Report serves as an historical record for the organization and also provides information for future planners of this activity (for example, if it is an annual event). Particularly in a military community where organizational leaders tend to transition every year or so, an After Action Report can provide enough information to allow a newcomer to organize an event without 'starting from scratch.' Furthermore, Lessons Learned can be extracted from the experiences documented in an After Action Report. For example, one might learn that although an event was very well-received by those who attended it, perhaps the marketing of the event wasn't enough to attract more people. The lesson learned here might be to explore different options for publicizing the event, including the timing of the publicity, the variety of marketing tools and resources used, and budget allocated to marketing. Recognize both the value of information in an After Action Report, but don't let it prevent you from exploring new ideas. Develop Lessons Learned from an After Action Report and use this information to help you explore options for improving the event or activity the next time.

Question:
How do personal frames of reference impact an organization?

Answer:
Because personal frames of reference shape the way individuals perceive information and interact with others, they can have a potential to narrow one’s point of view. It is important, therefore (particularly for leaders) to recognize key elements of their frames of reference and to consider expanding them to adapt to new and complex situations.

Question:
How much interaction with one’s superiors should a leader have when making risky decisions?

Answer:
When faced with risky decisions, a leader should rely on his/her own knowledge, experience, and judgment – unless the decision is out of his/her area of responsibility. Seeking clarification or advice from one’s superiors or other subject matter experts is appropriate. However, leaders are expected to make tough decisions. As noted in Chapter 5 of FM 22-100: Direct Leadership Actions, “Ask only for decisions that fall outside your scope of authority—not those you want to avoid. Forward only problems you can’t fix—not those whose solutions are just difficult. Ask for advice from others with more experience or seek clarification when you don’t understand what’s required. Do all that and exercise disciplined initiative within your boss’s intent.”

Question:
What are some basic steps to problem solving?

Answer:
Most experts would agree that the first step to solving a problem is to acknowledge that there is one and then define it. Ask yourself and others specific questions to determine exactly what the problem is; where it is; when it developed; how it developed; and why it occurred. As you define the problem, begin to look at potential causes for the problem. Gather all the facts you can about the problem and make legitimate assumptions, if necessary. Then develop possible solutions and/or approaches to resolve the problem. Analyze and compare the solutions, taking into account any risk associated with each of the alternatives and the resources available (e.g., time, people, and money) to resolve the problem. Select the best course of action; define indicators that can be used to determine whether or not your plan is successful. Lastly, implement your plan. Communicate it to others who are involved in implementing it, and monitor the indicators of success you defined to make sure your course of action stays on track. Note that these are basic problem solving steps. There are other methods and tools that can assist you in defining and resolving problems. For example, there are computer aids that can help analyze different alternatives to resolving a problem, or professional indicators that can assist you in defining problems. Use some of the listed references to explore these other methods and/or to obtain more information on how to carry out each step in the problem-solving process.

Question:
What are some general roadblocks that can inhibit problem solving?

Answer:
Many roadblocks that can inhibit problem solving are obvious. It is the obstacles that are not as obvious that can really slow down your progress when addressing a problem. Try to identify potential obstacles that could impact your efforts to find solutions to problems, such as other individuals, agencies, events or constraints that are outside your local environment. Look ahead to future events and activities and ask the question: will this affect the successful outcome I am seeking? Do you have all the information you need to solve the problem and/or is it accurate? Army Family Team Building’s (AFTB) Level II Intermediate Problem Solving course includes some other roadblocks to consider. For example, an individual’s fear of failure can be a roadblock. Sometimes alternatives or courses of action are not attempted because of the fear of failure. Focusing too much attention on a single course of action (i.e., tunnel vision) can also be an obstacle because it prevents you from considering other alternatives. Another roadblock that often comes up in organizations is the familiarity with current procedures. In other words, “We’ve always done it this way.” Some individuals fail to allow themselves to consider changing the way they operate. These are just a few of the other roadblocks discussed in the AFTB Level II course. Contact your local AFTB office for more information on problem solving (and other classes) as well as some of the other references noted here.
Viewing 1-8 of 8 Knowledge Entries

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