Six Steps to Becoming a Better Problem Solver: Newly Discovering


6 Steps to Becoming a Better Problem Solver: Newly Discovering

Being a good problem solver can help you identify issues and create solutions that help you, your colleagues and members of management. Being an excellent problem solver can also help you improve your overall work performance. If you’re interested in building up your skill set, learning how to become a better problem solver can be useful for you.

In this article, we discuss what a problem solver is, why they're important in the workplace and how you can become a better problem solver.


What is a Problem Solver?

A problem solver is an individual who makes decisions and resolves issues using critical thinking and analytical skills. Typically, they consider all factors in a situation and make a decision based on the best solution. While some people possess natural problem-solving skills, anyone can gain these skills by identifying issues, focusing on solutions and analyzing all possible outcomes.


Why is Being a Problem Solver Important?

Here are several reasons why it's important to be a problem solver in the workplace:

• Identifies risks: Being a problem solver can help you identify potential risks in your working environment. Good problem solvers can often anticipate certain problems before they occur.

• Improves productivity: If you identify productivity issues in the workplace, you can use your problem-solving skills to identify the issue and create a solution.

• Generates growth: Problem-solving can help you to identify areas of improvement within your work performance so that you can solve any issues and develop your skills.

• Ensures operations run smoothly: Being a problem solver can help you identify issues that cause operations in your workplace to run less efficiently, which you can then work to find a solution for.


Problem-Solving: A Step by Step Approach

1. Identify the problem

There is no better starting point than defining what it is that needs to be fixed.

It means taking the time to thoroughly review the situation - separating the symptoms from the cause. Making your diagnosis is about understanding what hurts and why. This takes time and might mean doing a bit of research to reveal the underlying issues behind the problem.


2. Determine the Root Causes

Once you have identified what your problem is, you need to figure out why it is.

• What is behind it?

• What is causing it?

• Can it be quantified or qualified.

• What is going on at a core level?

Because as you work towards solving your problem, you are going to want to find a solution that deals with the causes and not just the symptoms. So again, take the time to investigate the situation. Collect information, analyze your findings, and refine your diagnosis.


3. Find Multiple Solutions

Being a good problem-solver means thinking innovatively and that means thinking outside the box. Do not settle for the first solution you find. Push the boat out. Find as many alternative solutions as you can. And then find some more.

This might mean looking for solutions in unusual places or from unusual sources – talking to a different set of colleagues, keeping an open mind, or being receptive to the interchange of ideas or perspectives. Whatever if it takes, once you have a set of alternative solutions, subject them all to analysis.

4. Find the Solution that will Work Best

Easier said than done? Not necessarily. Go about it logically.

Answer these questions:

• Is it technically viable?

• Is it scale-able?

• Do you have the resources?

• What are the risks?

Can they be managed?

• Does your solution benefit as many people as possible?

• Can it be measured?

How will you measure it?


5. Plan and Implement Your Solution

Give this part plenty of thought too. Build a really tight plan to execute your solution. You will need to cover who, what, when, and how you will implement your plan.

And just as importantly, you will need to think about how you are going to determine if your solution was a success, which leads us to the final step.


6. Measure the Success of Your Solution

How does it measure against your goals?

Have you met your objectives?

Have you stayed within budget?

Is the work complete?

Can you see a measurable outcome?

Evaluating the success of your solution is a vital – and often neglected step – because it shows you clearly whether your solution is the correct one, or whether you need to go back to step one and start over. Because a key part of problem-solving effectively is about being prepared to get it wrong – and to learn from your mistakes.

Remember that all problems are simply puzzles waiting to be solved. Practice using these six steps to build your problem-solving acumen and you will find that your abilities being highly valued.


Tips for Becoming a Better Problem Solver

Here are several tips that you can use when becoming a better problem solver:

• Seek advice: When faced with a problem, it’s a good idea to seek meaningful advice from a trusted mentor, colleague or friend. Be sure to tell the full story and provide all relevant information, so that the advice you receive is unbiased and helpful.

• Perform thorough research: It’s essential to perform thorough research to ensure you understand potential outcomes. Before making any important decisions regarding a problem, be sure to talk to all parties involved in a problem and look up useful information that relates to the problem.

• Keep an open mind: If you are trying to solve a challenging problem, it’s best to keep an open mind and consider all solutions. This can help you see all perspectives of a problem, which allows you to identify more solutions.

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