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32 The PCB Design Magazine • October 2016 BIZ BRAIN IQ TEST: THE SURPRISING RESULTS This question looks at systems thinking and tools. One of the most useful and powerful sys- tems optimization tools is the 80/20 rule. This Pareto principle tells us that usually 20% of the variables create 80% of the outputs. If you look in your closet, you'll see that 80% of the time you wear 20% of the clothes in your closet. It's the same for most systems. If you want to get the most out of your systems, identify the criti- cal 20% of the variables. In fact, as a leader or manager, you want your people working only on the critical 20% of their systems/projects. The best answer here is I work on only my top 20% of important issues. A close second is I put things in proper sequence. However, note that you can't put things in proper sequence unless you have first identified the critical 20%. I work on whatever is most pressing is wrong unless one has done the systems work to know what's most pressing and specifically the critical 20%. I do what I think is best is mostly wrong. Unless data indicates that what you think is best is really best, you'll usually be working on the wrong is- sues or symptoms of root causes. ____________________________________ The best answer here is optimizing systems and growing employees. If a leader focuses on optimizing systems and growing employees, both the employees and customers will feel valued and taken care of. Setting people up to be successful is second in that it entails opti- mizing systems and growing people. Optimiz- ing systems is third and growing employees is fourth. Providing value to customers garnered nearly 30% of the vote but this is the wrong place to focus. Customer satisfaction and val- ue received is much more a function of happy, systems-literate employees, management and leadership than anything else. In fact, some studies suggest that customers will feel that same about the company as employees over time. ____________________________________ Looking to the systems as source of the prob- lem is easily the best answer here. If 94% of the problem is systems-related, why would you look anywhere else? From a systems think- ing perspective, there are no other good an- swers here. While putting our best people on the problem is a traditional approach, it is badly flawed. Unless the "best people" take a sys- tems-based approach, problem solving will be a firefighting exercise and solutions will not be sustainable. The remainder of the answers to the question are also flawed and, in some cases, make things worse. Taking any action without knowledge of the systems is simply tampering, which adds variation to already stressed systems. ____________________________________

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