We are faced with numerous problems and challenges in both our personal and working life; however, the way we perceive these challenges and problems is the real sign of success or failure. Tackling problems or overcoming mistakes we have made provides us with invaluable learning experiences we otherwise will have not had. The way we approach and manage problems is a key skill and becoming proficient at this means we have a strong chance of reaching success. As Kevin Daum for Inc rightly explains; ‘The bigger the problems you can solve, the more you can achieve and the more respect you earn.’
8 success tips for problem solving
Following these eight success tips for problem-solving will help you become a proficient problem-solver:
Approach each problem with a fresh mind and do not let past experiences impede on the current situation. Take a step back to ensure you do not become fixated on one section of the problem or take an approach which is not suitable.
View the whole picture
This will enable you to view all potential obstacles and factors which could get in the way of a solution to the problem. A comprehensive view is much more likely to lead to success than a narrow view.
Look further ahead than the present
As Kevin states, ‘So many times great opportunities are wrapped up inside simple problems.’ Take a look at external factors which could be causing a larger, overall problem and you could open up a whole different future plan.
Use your communication skills to facilitate discussion
Use your communication skills to facilitate discussion with your team so all information is shared and all areas are covered. Someone in your team may have the missing piece to solve the problem! In your role as a manager, this one is particularly important.
Remove ego from the situation
Focusing on finding a solution to the problem which will be your idea and yours’ only to make sure you receive all the credit for this will hamper the effectiveness of problem-solving. You will likely miss some better alternatives and input from your team which will help you to reach a better, more effective and long-lasting solution.
Don’t get lost in research
Yes use research to gain a better perspective of the problem, but do not place all your focus on it. You need to ‘engage your creativity to find new and better ways to solve old issues’ says Kevin.
Picture the ideal
Firstly work out exactly what your ‘ideal scenario’ would be to solve the problem, then work back from this to construct a method that results in this. You may not always reach your complete perfect ending, but at least you will know you are the closest to it you could get.
Assess how the whole problem-solving process is working throughout
Always assess how the whole problem-solving process is working throughout so you can make any changes along the way and also at the end so you can reflect on what worked well and what did not work so well. Make sure you do not overlook this important stage not only at the end but also throughout the process.
Figure out who in your team would be most effective in the situation
Who has the skills, knowledge or traits which would aid you in solving the problem? Also, make sure you enlist the help of colleagues or team members who will approach the problem with an open-mind.
Do not forget your role as a manager and ensure you thank and recognise those who helped you in solving the problem. If applicable, make management and key stakeholders aware of what you and your team have achieved; this will demonstrate your appreciation and pride in your team too!
Implement each of these problem-solving tips for a better chance of success. You could try employing a couple at a time if they seem too over-whelming to try all at once. You will end up feeling more self-assured when problems arise; knowing how to approach and tackle them and also feeling confident that you have reached the best possible outcome.