Analysis Is the Critical Starting Point of Strategic Thinking.
— Kenichi Ohmae
Every idea has its pros and cons. Each idea needs to be analyzed and compared with others to determine which are best—those ideas most likely to successfully solve the problem and help the team reach its goals. Enneagram Change Management Step 5 moves into the analysis phase of problem solving in which the team thoughtfully considers all ideas and develops the pro-con, cost-benefit analysis of each. This analysis will form the basis for decision making in the next step.
Excerpt from Teamwork 9.0
The transition to Step 5 represents a movement away from emotion-based processing towards logic-based thinking. Enneagram Type 5 is in the Head-Thinking-Anxiety center and the Enneagram dynamic best suited for data collection and detailed analysis.
Recall that Enneagram Type 5 is the internal anxiety type concerned with accumulating resources. This behavior extends to collecting information, making the Type 5 dynamic ideally suited for gathering all the data necessary to properly analyze each idea. With the data at hand, your team can perform cost-benefit analyses, generating the facts crucial to deciding which ideas are most viable for achieving the objectives and solving the problem. During Step 5, your problem-solving team must move into the Type 5 dynamic, carefully and logically analyzing all the promising ideas.
Analysis, Not Paralysis
Most ideas have their good points and bad points, their pros and their cons. It is important for you to move your problem-solving team quickly through the assessment of these pros and cons. If you call a 100-minute team meeting and you have 12 big ideas to examine, keep the pro/con analysis of each idea to 8 minutes. You will find that your team is usually able to discuss the important points of each idea in those 8 minutes. If some are left unsatisfied with the time limit on the discussion, encourage them to elaborate their ideas in a follow up email. By moving to each idea in turn with a fixed time limit, you can avoid getting caught up in minutiae and digressions.
Remember, some of your team members will excel during Step 5 and will want to explore the nuances of each idea. Conversely, others will find this detailed analysis tedious and boring. You want to strike a balance to ensure that the analytical folks have a chance to show off their stuff, while moving quickly to get through all the ideas and keep your entire team engaged.
Recall that in the Ideation step (Step 3), I suggested that you ask participants to set aside their negative reactions to ideas. During the Logical Analysis step, you take the opportunity to revisit those negative reactions. Encourage those who have strong feelings about any idea to communicate their thoughts and feelings at this point.
In the time since team members had their first emotional reaction to an idea, the intensity of that reaction will have subsided. Anyone who had a strong negative reaction will now be in a better state to calmly explain it. I find that letting some time pass is an effective way to rationally explore the emotional reactions to ideas without letting those emotions rule the process.
After spending a few minutes on an idea, would you feel like you had done a proper analysis? Of course not! Often, the team will not have all the information necessary to adequately analyze each idea during the meeting. In order to perform a proper analysis, ask for volunteers. The biggest proponents and/or opponents of a given idea will be usually be eager to collect any additional information the team feels it needs. If the need arises, I may call a separate meeting so the team can review the pros and cons of each idea to everyone’s satisfaction.
At the end of Step 5, your problem-solving team will have a rich set of ideas, with the pros and cons for each idea spelled out. The analytical folks on the team will have chimed in and provided the data and assessment that the team needs to move forward. You are now ready for Step 6, the Planning step, which I affectionately call “finding the path of least danger.”
Do you take the time to carefully analyze the positive ideas generated by your team? Do you have the team weigh in on all the pros and cons from their diverse perspectives? How do you avoid overanalyzing ideas and falling into paralysis by analysis?
Having a handful of positive ideas to explore, it’s now time to turn to the left brain activities, starting with analyzing each idea for feasibility. Enneagram Type 5 is often called the analyzer. In Step 5 of problem solving, you want to perform pro/con and cost benefit analysis of each idea. Out of this step comes the top one, maybe two ideas to solve each problem that the team is pursuing.
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