Real Problem Solving
How to Unblock Thinking &
Make Obstacles Disappear

By J.K. Smart
Pearson Education / Financial Times
December 2003
ISBN: 0-273-66330-5
179 Pages, 5 ½" x 8 ½"
$34.95 paper original

Real Problem Solving is for every manager who knows that if it was as easy as most books and trainers make out, they’d be doing it already. Overworked managers know that management is about doing the best you can with what you’ve got, in the real world of organisations that are demanding more and more, for less and less. Managers who know that doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity and know there is a better way of managing.

But what if someone else had read all the management books, tried out all the ideas, worked out why they didn’t work in the real world, developed an approach that works and put it all in one practical accessible source. And what if that someone wasn’t a management guru, academic or consultant but an overworked manager like you who knew what you were up against and who didn’t preach at you about the one right way to do things or try to get you to be something you’re not.

This book offers you a way of blending the author's thinking framework with your experience to help you to be the best you can at solving problems.

Written for real managers by a real manager who understands what you’re up against in the real world. Based on a common sense understanding of human nature - takes your concerns seriously and starts from the assumption that what you are doing now makes sense in your situation. Makes sense of your experience of delegating, influencing, problem-solving by explaining why most delegation, influencing, problem-solving doesn’t work. Gives you simple techniques for turning your past experience into the key that unlocks your best ever performance. The only book on delegating/problem-solving/coaching you’ll ever need to read. Distilled wisdom in easily absorbed format.

Author Karen Smart’s background is in individual and organisational development. However, unlike some in her field, first and foremost Karen sees herself as a line manager. In recent years, she’s worked primarily on enabling managers to manage – developing and delivering everything from individual skill building and management development programmes to management systems design and organisation wide culture change. In addition to managing her team, Karen has coached senior managers and facilitated cross-functional working, problem solving and conflict management. Although she has two degrees and has researched extensively across a range of disciplines, ultimately Karen feels she’s learnt most about management from her experience as an overworked and undervalued manager, disempowered by bureaucracy. From this experience - and inspired by the man she says "puts the J into KJ Smart and a lot of the smart too" - the philosophy of real management for real people was born.

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