While problem solving is part and parcel of the role of a manager or leader, some find it more of a challenge than others. Like most issues the most important thing is to be systematic in your approach.
So what are the key steps to effective problem solving?
Clearly Identify the Problem
While this might seem like stating the obvious, managers can fall into the trap of starting to leap into action before they have got clarity on what the problem is.
To avoid this take time to get clear and write down the problem.
Establish the Facts
Getting a clear understanding of the facts is essential. This is particularly important when dealing with a staffing problem such as a breakdown in a relationship between colleagues. In these situations everyone will want to give you their views some of which might be factual or some which might be personal opinions. It is the facts that matter.
Identify Potential Solutions
The key at this stage is to identify possible solutions. Brainstorming or mind maps are two excellent tools to use for identifying potential solutions. Adopt an anything is possible approach to the process and don’t start eliminating things at this stage.
Review and Refine Potential Solutions
Go through all of the potential solutions and eliminate those that are clearly not workable in this situation. Carry on this process until you have a short list of 3-5 solutions. Weigh up the benefits and drawbacks of the 3-5 solutions.
Select a Solution
Decide on what solution you are going to adopt in this particular case.
Once you have decided on your solution put it into action as quickly as you can.
Set up an appointment to review success and identify learning points and determine what you need to adjust or adapt/
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