My wife politely requested me to teach our son. As an intelligent individual, I understand that it is better to listen to a polite request before it gets converted into a rude command. I accepted the request (as if I had any option).

The subject was Mathematics. Logical problems – A is two years older than B who is twice as old as C. If the total of the ages of A, B and C be 27, the how old is B?  I explained the concept to my son and then asked him to attempt problems one by one. After three questions, I observed that my son understands the concept but is not able to get the right answer.

We identified where the mistakes were happening. But that did not help much because same mistakes were happening again and again. Knowing the problem does not solve the problem. Since my son had clarity of concept, he was directly jumping to solution. I referred his text book and observed that we were making a fundamental mistake. We were not defining the problem. We realized that defining problem is different from knowing the problem. Problem definition meant defining three things

  1. What is required?
  2. What is given?
  3. How required will be arrived?

Defining the problem improved the score drastically.

In corporate life, we commit the same fundamental mistake. Many a times, we keep solving problems without defining the problems. Since our performance management systems are not as efficient as evaluations at school, we never realize whether we are getting the right answers. Having a good teacher who can observe and help one improve is extremely important in the performance management process. This teacher could be a mentor, supervisor or a coach.

Finally it is always good to listen to your wife. by Harjeet Khanduja publishes HR relevant topics in layman language and redefines conventional concepts in current context without making HR too technical or complicated