As you run your business, problems are going to pop up almost every day. That’s why It is essential to master problem-solving strategies.
Problem-solving steps & processes are necessary for learning for Business owners or managers.
This will prevent heads butting against situations that are often rather simple to understand and easy to settle with the right problem-solving techniques.
To help you overcome these problems, we have compiled this detailed list that breaks down the problem-solving process and the critical problem-solving abilities that you need to run your business.
By the time you are done reading this article, your problem-solving ability should be much higher.
You can also teach these methods to your workers to increase their ability to problem-solve.
Are you a business owner, CEO, Manager, employee, or just a regular individual, read on to find out all you need to know about problem-solving strategies.
Thus enhancing your business and personal skill-set.
Problem Solving Strategies: Steps and Processes
Identify the Nature of the Problem
An important first step in problem-solving is objectively examining the problem from as many angles as possible.
Also, it is a very important problem-solving strategy you should keep in mind.
This is because it allows you to approach the situation in a way that removes any biases or confusion you may have about it.
Beyond that, it makes it easier to solve issues in a way that benefits your business.
For example, let’s say you run into a problem with the quality of your product.
Consumers are complaining that it breaks down in certain situations and are demanding their money back.
Many business owners in this situation will start throwing blame around without really trying to solve the problem.
Some might even attack the consumer and cause even more complications. That approach occurs in those with poor problem-solving skills.
When you know how to problem solve correctly, this process will require sitting down with the designers of the product and discussing what is happening.
Perform tests on the product to see if it fails in the way your customers are stating.
Spot where the failure is occurring and work with your experts to figure out why it is happening in that situation.
Problem-solving strategies like these require a lot of concentration and an honest assessment of the situation.
Define the Problem
The second problem-solving strategy or step you should be aware of is defining the problem.
Problem-solving procedures don’t end after you have identified the problem.
Instead, you need to break down the variables of the issue to better understand it.
Let’s say that there is a major morale problem in your office.
You have identified that your employees don’t feel appreciated by you and are struggling to feel connected to each other.
Before coming up with a solution, it is essential to break down why they feel that way.
You might have to sit down with one or two employees and ask them what you could do to make them feel satisfied.
You are likely to hear that they want better benefits such as more extended vacations, cheaper health care, and higher pay rates.
However, you may also learn that some have an issue with a specific manager.
They might say that the manager verbally berates them when they make a mistake in a way that is very inappropriate.
He might call them stupid or pick on them around others in a way that makes them uncomfortable and unhappy.
This situation is a tough one and requires a high-quality problem-solving process to manage.
However, fully understanding all of the variables can make a solution more comfortable to grasp.
Problem-Solving Strategy Of Brainstorming A Few Solutions
When faced with a problem that is threatening your business, you might be tempted to hammer out a quick solution and to implement it as soon as possible.
That’s not a good use of your problem-solving skills or a good problem-solving strategy to adopt.
In fact, your ability to problem-solve has to include patience and a willingness to really think hard about the solution to a problem.
You might think that firing the problematic manager is the most natural solution to your morale issue.
That isn’t always the case, however, because firing a critical team member can cause a chain reaction of problems.
For example, beyond their poor communication skills, they could understand what your business needs and have an aptitude for obtaining it.
As a result, you need to consider solutions that aren’t quite as extreme as firing them.
For example, you could have them go through sensitivity training or even anger management classes to learn how to communicate more effectively.
Brainstorm a multitude of solutions to any problems that occur in your business and discuss them with your managers to get a feel for which is best for you.
Create a Visual of Your Solution
Your problem-solving strategy has, so far, focused on thinking heavily about the problem.
Also, it has only touched on finding a solution.
Once you have brainstormed a few different steps to problem-solving for your issue, you should start creating a visual of each of these solutions.
This element of your problem-solving strategy requires breaking down the elements of your solution in a coherent manner.
For example, you could draw a chart showcasing the different steps of the process.
Each step should have an explanation of why it is essential and what you hope it will achieve.
This visual is an excellent element for your problem-solving strategy.
This is because it makes it easier for you and others in your business to get a feel for what needs to be done.
Remember, though, that your solution may end up changing as you implement it. That’s not an uncommon situation and, in many ways, it can be a welcome one.
Unexpected circumstances that change your problem-solving strategies will force you to adapt in potentially beneficial ways.
Later on, we’ll talk more about how this actually improves your process.
Your visual of the solution can include a multitude of different approaches.
While you can always draw or design a chart, you can also create a model that showcases your answer.
For example, if one of your products has a defect that needs to be fixed, creating a model without that defect will make it easier for your company to create a solution that manages this issue successfully.
Discuss The Solutions Further
Fully examining all of your possible solutions is one of the most important problem solving strategies for your business.
It might seem like you are spending days spinning your wheels, but these steps to problem-solving are critical.
This is because they ensure that you fully understand what is necessary for your solution and how to achieve it without a lot of fuss.
For example, you need to assess how much each solution will cost, the time it will take to implement it.
You also need to access who will need to work on it, and what kinds of problem-solving methodology will need to be used.
After examining what each solution could potentially cost your business you need to decide if it is right for you.
Make sure that you talk to all the managers in the departments affected by this problem.
Get their insight into how much it will cost to implement a solution and whether they think it is the right choice or not.
This process will make it easier for you to find a method that isn’t too expensive as well as a solution that is right for your company.
Problem-Solving Strategy Of Examining Possible Complications
This step in problem-solving is one of the hardest to implement.
That’s because it requires you to look ahead through your problem-solving strategies critically.
It also requires you to examine possible complications that could occur.
Start this step by thinking about different ways that outside elements could sabotage each aspect of your solution.
For example, let’s say you decide to boost the morale of your team by extending their vacation time from two weeks to three weeks a year.
This solution might seem smart on the surface.
However, think about what could happen if too many employees are gone at the same time.
Overlapping vacation times could put your business behind and make it hard to implement this solution.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t extend their vacation time.
Instead, you just have to find a way of executing this solution that doesn’t create problems.
For example, you could create a system that lets only one person in a department take a week’s vacation at a time.
In this way, you can avoid complications that would be hard to predict otherwise.
Make sure you go through every step of your possible solution in this way.
You don’t want to spend an excessive amount of time throwing dozens of problems at each step.
At some point, you can go overboard thinking too hard about these issues and cripple your attempts at problem-solving.
Finding a good balance here is tough, but it can be achieved with a little careful consideration.
Debate Extreme Cases That Could Cause Problems
Before implementing any solution, you need to explore extreme situations that could sabotage its implementation.
This problem-solving strategy improves your problem-solving ability.
This is because it gives you an insight into how badly your solution could fail if it isn’t executed properly.
You could use your problem solving abilities to brainstorm an extreme, but the logical result of firing your problematic manager.
This result could include months of having no manager for that department.
This scenario would likely force one of your other managers to step in and do that job on top of their own duties.
That kind of overworked manager is often a prime candidate for burnout.
They may also start making mistakes that devastate your business success.
In this worst-case scenario, firing that manager may be the only solution.
You are then stuck with two departments without managers.
Using your problem solving ability to assess these extreme examples can help you solve problems before they occur.
This logical approach to problem-solving comes easier for some individuals than it does to others.
You might find you have a pessimistic manager who is very good at coming up with extreme situations that could affect your company.
Let this person exercise their ability to problem solve and brainstorm to come up with the worst situations they can imagine.
Problem Solving Strategy Of Implementing a Trial Solution
We’ve come to the step in problem-solving that requires trying out a solution to your problem.
Choose one that you think will work the best for your problem and add it to your business on a trial basis.
Let’s say you decide to improve company morale by doing a weekly dinner party in which everyone gets together to relax and have fun.
Start out by budgeting the expected money you’ll need to follow this step.
After estimating the cash you’ll need, you need to create a plan for going through with this idea.
By now, your problem-solving process should be refined enough that it is easy for you to create a simple guide.
Once you’ve come up with a plan for your dinner party, try it out for at least one month.
Examine how well your employees are interacting during the dinner party.
Ask yourself if they seem happier during the party and if they are talking to each other more than they do at work.
Assess if you feel more connected with your employees and if they are talking to you during dinner.
By the time the first dinner is done, you should have a good idea if it is right for your business.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t try another dinner again.
A logical approach to problem-solving understands that circumstances will vary and cause different results.
For example, your dinner might include two employees arguing with each other about work or perceived slights.
While this might make the meal seem like a failure, it is essential to know that one failure does not mean an idea is terrible.
Tweak Your Solution
If you find that your trial solution is working well, you should extend its trial period.
The problem-solving approach has to be adjustable to unique situations and unexpected possibilities.
Let’s say that your dinner party went better than anticipated and that your employees are happier than ever and are working together very well.
However, you find that your budget isn’t going to be able to handle doing these types of dinners every week.
This problem could cause you to either minimize your company dinners or to cancel them, thereby disappointing your workers.
However, using your problem solving abilities should be second nature by now.
And they should make it easy for you to figure out what to do here.
You could start a fundraiser for the dinners by hosting a weekly drawing for cash prizes.
You raise the money by having people pay money to buy a ticket.
Half of this money can go towards the award while the other half is used for your weekly dinners.
These kinds of problem-solving techniques force you to think on your toes and create solutions that are better than anticipated.
Finalize Your Solution
At this point, you should have a pretty good idea of whether or not your trial solution is right for your company.
If you think that it is something that your company needs to keep, finalize its implementation.
Make sure it is a regular part of your budget and that it continually solves the problem that it was created to address.
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t track how well this solution is working.
Your problem-solving procedures for an issue never really ends.
Instead, you need to make sure that you are adjusting it as necessary to ensure its proper application.
Let’s say you run into a snag one week and cannot hold your usual business dinner.
You need to be ready to adjust your budget and your employees’ expectations accordingly.
And you also have to know when to change a solution or when it cut it entirely.
Sticking to a process just because you’re used to it is one contributing factor to business issues.
If a solution that was once successful is now failing, don’t hesitate to remove it and try another fix.
This logical approach to problem-solving is one of the most effective methods for taking control of common issues in your workplace.
If you master these steps to problem solving or use them to create your own problem solving methodology, you will protect your business from nasty surprises that would otherwise seriously challenge your bottom line.
Conclusion On Problem-Solving Strategies
Remember, the first step in problem-solving is identifying the issue in an objective and calm way.
The rest of your problem-solving procedures should build from there.
Finally importantly, your problem-solving approach should be adaptable enough to suit multiple situations.
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