Problem Solving 101 – How to Solve Problems
Ever notice how easy it is to solve other people’s problems? When presented with someone else’s conundrum it can be easy to assess the possibilities, look at what might work and develop solutions. To the person who owns the challenge, our proposed solutions may seem innovative, creative, and perhaps even ingenious. “How did you come up with that solution so fast and make it look easy!?”
When our personal paradigms, perspectives or biases do not weigh us down, problem-solving is relatively easy. We can get a handle on the problem; look at each possible solution and determine next steps. The challenge, of course, is that we don’t get to ignore our own difficulties and focus exclusively on other people’s problems. The biggest hurdle to resolving our own problems is that there are two kinds of solutions, the ones that work and the ones we like.
If your emotions, ego or attitude are all wrapped up in the outcomes, how do you avoid distracting yourself? How do we harness our own inventiveness and objectivity, while avoiding natural biases to solve problems? Start by taking a deliberate approach.
8 Tips For Problem Solving
- Figure out what the problem is. This may seem obvious, but unfortunately, problems can stretch out longer than they need to because we assume what the problems are rather than taking the time to analyze them and make sure.
- Once you know what the problem is, refine and define it as clearly as possible. Develop a laundry list of elements that make the problem completely transparent. If there are elements that you cannot define, make a note of them too. Make sure that you list the barriers to resolution.
- Consider possible approaches to reach solutions. Do you need to ask for help? Do you need to do some research, interview experts or contemplate the problem more?
- Once you have gathered all of your information, put it in one place and organize it so that it makes sense and it is easy to identify individual elements. What do you need to do first? What parts hinge on others in order to be successful?
- Determine what represents low hanging fruit or easy fixes. Quick wins are not only easy but are valuable because they boost morale and build momentum.
- What will take more time, money and resources to resolve? All solutions should be either easy or matter. What are the mini projects you need to do in order to get your big projects accomplished?
- Keep track of what you are doing as you do it. Make sure you are moving in the right direction by monitoring progress. Team and the communication within the team are critical. Getting the right people in place and making sure that communications are effective will go a long way towards avoiding unnecessary roadblocks along the way.
- When the process is complete, make sure that the results you have achieved are the ones you wanted. Sometimes we achieve the right outcome but create other problems along the way.
What do you think? How do you resolve challenges? Ever solve a problem that had someone else in knots? Have you had a problem easily resolved by someone else?