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What Is Your Experience with Decision-Making Models?

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What is your Experience with Decision-Making Models?

Foundations of Problem Based Learning

What is your Experience with Decision-Making Models?

My exposure with decision-making models has been very limited throughout my few years within the hospitality world, but my experience lies within everything I have accomplished. It has been nearly five years since the concept was first introduced, through a systematic thinking class which I was currently taking for my undergrad. This class focused mainly on the concept of building learning organizations through the use of tools and strategies. In doing this, the class was introduced to decision-making models, particularly The Five Whys by Rick Ross. Since this time, I have found that these models can not only affect how problems are looked upon based within the walls of a corporation, but the walls surrounding our everyday life. And often at times, these models will help us escape the walls altogether.

“If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don’t bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking.”(Senge, Ross, Smith, Roberts, & Kleiner, 1994, p. 28) As I look back on the systematic thinking class now, I remember feeling an overwhelming desire to learn new ways of thinking, but also at the same time realizing that I would not be able to endure four straight hours of classroom learning without a break. These two key elements helped to focus my energies into using a decision-making model, Professor Gibord had just introduced for the first time to the class. The tool he had introduced to the class was The Five Whys, and through Professor Gibord’s teaching, and my own readings I began to understand that this tool was used to sort through symptoms, and identify the core of a problem. With this in mind, I wanted to prove my understandings of this tool in the most basic manner possible. After much consideration, I proposed to the class to find the reason why a person’s mind could not focus on classroom material after three to four hours of straight learning. This was, of course just a symptom of an underlying problem, but after asking the question, the class had already had its first why, and answers began to come almost immediately. Answers to the why, ranged tremendously, reaching from having neck pains to boredom. So then the class asked the next why. Why does your neck hurt, or why do you feel bored? Once again the class was faced with multiple answers, to which we asked again and again why. The result of our brainstorming tool brought us to multiple conclusions at the end of our exercise. Out of our multiple conclusions, we had but one common denominator that gave reason to so many symptoms. The answer or problem as it may be that we were faced with after the exercise was that sitting in one position for three to four hours straight in a classroom setting, is not an ideal atmosphere for learning. With this in mind, we began to attack the problem, and not the symptoms. “How” was our next logical step after identifying the problem. How could we still learn or obtain the information over a long period while keeping our minds and bodies focused? As a result of our efforts, Professor Gibord began to then change the settings of our classrooms from rooms with hard school chairs, to rooms with coffee tables, and couches. He also began to put more interaction and movement for the students into his teaching style, keeping students moving around but at the same time focused. The last major difference we saw of our efforts was a 15 minute break half way through the class where all involved could not only stretch their legs, but stretch their minds away from the material for a moment or two.

After graduation and moving on to the “real world”, I kept my teachings very close to me, and found that I would ask why at every chance possible. It was at the first corporation that I had been employed with, (Fuddruckers) where I found that my questions were truly valued, and that they found meaningful answers. I was attending a corporate conference in Las Vegas when a question was presented to me about the poor bottom line I was turning in week to week from my restaurant. I took this question, and re-presented it to my peers in this meeting, in the form of a why instead of just a basic question. Having been at this particular restaurant for nearly a year, I had the belief that I had a good understanding of where the problem lied. Now was my opportunity to help upper-management see the problem as I did through their own reasoning, and through the Five Whys decision-making model. My first question is the group

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