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State Your Purpose

The second step in solving a problem or making a decision is to state your purpose. We are going to continue here first with some more excerpts from the book The Art of DECISION MAKING: 7 Steps to Achieving More Effective Results, by John D. Arnold...

Clarifying your purpose

  1. Avoid tunnel vision
  2. Define your purpose as broadly as possible to allow for more possible solutions

"The statement of Purpose - what needs to be determined - is the most critical step in the decision-making process. It is also the step most often neglected. Why bother to examine our Purpose when we could spend that time looking for Solutions? Isn't our Purpose self-evident? Don't we already know what we want to determine?

"Seat-of-the-pants decisions begin with an unexamined statement of Purpose. Sound decisions require more thoughtful analysis. The typical problem is TUNNEL VISION. We state our Purpose too narrowly and artificially restrict our search for Solutions. The more broadly we can state our Purpose, the wider we can cast our net for Solutions…

"Unexamined statements of Purpose frequently mask the real problem. If a man is overworked, his instinctive reaction may be to ask his boss for an assistant. He begins to build up an argument to present to his boss, without giving any thought to whether his work methods could be improved or whether some of his work could be delegated to someone else" (53).

".. There's no point selecting an impossible Purpose. Try to state your Purpose in the form of an opportunity. "Get rid of the pimples on my face" will not produce nearly as many opportunities as "make myself as attractive as possible."… Many opportunity-oriented statements of Purpose begin with "determine the best way to…"" (55).


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Please send comments to: Colby Glass, MLIS

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