Describe a situation in which you had to arrive at a compromise or guide others to a compromise.
My first semester in college, I was a political-science major. My introductory government professor had a differing political view from mine. We disagreed on everything, and many classes were filled with criticizing each other’s view. However, on one test I answered a question with the view I believe in, and she marked it wrong. So I asked her how an opinion can be wrong, and she said because her opinion is the way she taught it in class. I pointed out that my answer showed I understood the concepts of the question. She agreed, and I also agreed not be so combative in answers on tests. Compromise is the key to problem resolution.
What steps do you follow to study a problem before making a decision?
Following standard models for problem-solving and decision-making can be very helpful. Here are the steps and how they helped me solve a problem with a group project:
- Define the problem to be solved and decision to be made. For a project in an introductory management class the assignment was to report on the corporate structure and financial situation of a couple of companies. The decision to be made was what companies to profile and how to present the information.
- Gather the necessary information. Some group members wanted to report on automakers, while others wanted to do electronics firms. We gathered information on both types of company.
- List all possible choices. We made lists of companies in both categories.
- Consider possible outcomes for each choice. We decided that a report about car companies could have a positive outcome, but one about electronics firms might be more futuristic with high-tech products such as HDTV, video game consoles, and DVD players.
- Check out how you feel about each of the choices. Given that this was a group project, we had to consider the feelings of all group members.
- Relate the choices to your values and priorities. Again, all group members weighed in on their values and priorities.
- From the possible alternatives, choose one. We decided that we’d do electronics companies because we could bring in products from each company and show what lies ahead.
- Commit yourself to your chosen decision and disregard the others. Concentrate your energies in one direction. Once we made our decision, we focused all our work on electronics forms.
- Take steps to turn your decision into positive action. All group members got interested in how the companies were doing.
- Evaluate your progress from time to time. Change your decision if necessary. We were pleased with our progress and didn’t feel a need to change our decision. We got an A on the project.
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