Most of the time this blog is about leadership development and leadership issues in general. Today’s topic – problem solving – is applicable to you if you’re a leader, a future leader or someone who will never lead. Why? Because everyone has to solve problems, every day.
I read in interesting article today called ‘5 Steps to Fixing the Problems with Your Problem Solving‘.
It was a very interesting take on how to identify problems and find solutions for them. For you who aren’t patient enough to read the whole article, here’s a summary of the problem solving steps recommended:
1. Pinpoint the problem – this is probably the hardest part but we think its the easiest. Many times what we think is a problem is really a symptom of the problem. The suggestion is we look at problems from all possible points of view and think about all possible causes.
2. Identify the issues – break the problem down into components and sub components to identify all issues.
3. Generate hypotheses and prioritize proving them – think about all possible solutions to all issues identified. After considering all options, prioritize them based on their potential effectiveness in solving your problem(s)
4. Analyze – now is the opportunity to analyze! Develop your spreadsheets. The results of analysis will tell you which hypotheses work – and therefore which to sell in item 5 below.
5. Sell your solution – finally, now you are ready to sell your solution. This may be the most important part. If you can identify the problem and the right solution, but you can’t convince the powers that be to pursue the solution, you won’t solve the problem. When selling your solution, be succinct and direct. Don’t bore people with all the steps you took. Just summarize and then sell the solution(s).