No matter your job title or executive level, problem solving comes included. It might be the part of the job that no one ever trained you on and isn’t exactly written in your role description, but you need to be on your game for the sake of the company, the customers and your career.
I’ve compiled a list of six questions to ask yourself as a means to reflect on your past attempts at problem solving and to keep you on track in your future ones.
- Have you clearly identified the issue?
A problem can’t be solved if you haven’t been honest about the details, as difficult as it may be. Don’t sidestep the tricky parts; put it all right out there on the table.
- Do you consider all parties?
Different people in different roles in different departments have different stakes in the various operations of your company. Before you begin to solve any given problem, ensure you understand the interests of all parties involved.
- Have you brainstormed solutions alone or with external input?
Once you have all of your considerations in order, it’s time to start thinking more positively. Forget about the “problem” and start gearing your thinking towards the solution. Think in terms of possibility and include others’ trusted input if you think it might expand the chances of success.
- Did you evaluate the solutions?
This is an important step because brainstorming can be chaotic, so evaluation is when you begin narrowing down the most reasonable ideas. Remember your considerations from earlier and factor them in when necessary but this step is your chance to choose the best solution given your options.
- Have you taken timely action?
Talking about ideas is great, but next comes taking action. Are you careful about your implementation, watching for effects and consequences? Depending on the type of problem you’re solving, you may need to be sensitive to a few factors. Do so, but don’t let that slow you down or trip you up from successful implementation.
- Once you’ve taken action, do you grant yourself a vacation?
If you’ve walked away from your problem solving opportunity like a hero and are now sitting at your desk relaxed and proud, you might want to stiffen up again. It’s great that you’ve taken the proper steps to ensure success but you must follow up on the changes you’ve made, offer assistance where necessary and be ready to problem solve again in the event your solution creates smaller, transitional issues.
Problem solving is a key factor to any job, whether you like it, know it or not. So be on the lookout for these certain things and always remember to ask yourself the six questions when facing any opportunity for solution.
Do you want to motivate and lead your staff more effectively? My executive coaching services can help you hone your leadership skills and clearly define your goals and objectives.