Problem definition

These techniques are usually applied to problems with well-defined characteristics:

  • most of the parts of the problem are known
  • the problem is stable and remains constant in complexity or becomes simpler as the solution is implemented
  • the solution to the problem is usually rational without an interpersonal or emotional dimension.

Typical examples of this class of problem for walkers and skiers include answering questions such as ‘Where are we?’ or ‘What’s for dinner?’, however, the really critical problems that confront walkers and skiers are more complex, less well-understood and less stable.

The problems which require the full application of a leader’s skills are those which have most at stake, are complex, have a time limit for their solution and whose nature may change as time progresses. The most enthralling and hair-raising stories about ski trips or bushwalks have all or most of these ingredients. These stories recirculate either as case studies in leadership courses or campfire and party stories, both of which create lively discussion. People repeatedly ask ‘Well what would you have done then?’