On November 28, 2008, New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress accidentally shot himself in the thigh with an unlicensed handgun while partying at a New York City nightclub. Beyond the poor judgment of the incident itself was the short-sightedness of the team’s response to it, which demonstrated just how inadequate problem-solving can be when conducted without the use of a structured approach.
The major flaw lay in failing to properly diagnose the problem and failing to sufficiently brainstorm possible solutions. In this way, the Giants ended up treating the symptoms of the problem rather than the problem itself. Deliberately following a model such as the Four Quadrant Tool for problem-solving* would have helped the team avoid the classic misstep of jumping straight from describing the symptoms of a problem (step one) to generating an action plan going forward (step four).