Top 11 problem solving skills at work that really work!

problem solving skills

Problem solving is an important aspect for business and life. This skill is part of many jobs, ranging from computer programming, accounting, to detective work, and even normal life. It will be wonderful if you have an ability to solve all problems effectively and in a timely fashion without hassle, and difficulty. However, there is no single way in which all problems can be solved. Therefore, you need to know various ways as well as methods to cope and deal with each problem. “The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year.” said John Foster Dulles, Former US Secretary of State. Read on 11 simple yet effective tips given in this article to discover how you can improve your problem solving skills within days.

Problem Solving Skills – 11 Tips To Sharpen Your Problem Solving Skills Fast

1. Indentify Your Problems

In order to solve your own problem, it is essential for you to realize that there is a problem. Many people usually try to avoid, procrastinate, and ignore when facing with difficulties in their life. Now, you need to know what the hidden problem is by focusing on the problem itself, what went wrong, its symptoms, and its impact on your career and your life. Then, write it down. It is easier to work on problem if you have a list of problems. Remember that at this step, you just need to describe all your problems, not list what you will do to repair them. Once a problem has been selected, it might need to be redefined as more information about the problem comes to light.

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2. Analyze Problems

Comprehensively analyzing a problem is ultimate to the success of your problem-solving effort. Effective, tailor-made responses will not be promoted unless you know what is causing the problem. However, a lot of people essentially skip this analysis phase. So, what are the reasons of this issue? Well, the reasons for this are various, but contain the following: the problem sometimes does not appear obviously at its first glance; or there might be an internal and external pressure to deal with the problem immediately.

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3. Deal With The Truly Important Problems

This sounds to be too simple and obvious, but many of us usually misunderstand or overlook this. In case there is a problem, that does not necessarily mean you have to resolve it instantly and completely. Ask yourself that what will happen if you do not resolve it and if the answer is “not much”, you need to turn your attention to something more important.

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4. Find The Challenges

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There is a huge obstacle for most people to resolve problem that is the way they look at problems. Once you think that your problem is totally threatening or you will be fail to resolve the problem, then you are seeing yourself as a bad problem solver. Obviously, you will not solve the problem in a good way. Try to find some benefits or chances in a problem; you will be more likely to work on it. For example, if your current problem is not getting along with colleagues, the chance may be that it is an opportunity to improve your own communication skills and probably resolve some conflicts with the coworkers or colleagues.

5. Define The Goals For The Problem And Begin With Short Term Goals

It is important for you to know ahead of time what the solved problems will be. To figure out that, you can refer some following tips:

  • Make sure that your goals are realistic and achievable. The more practical and measureable your goals are, the higher possibility you can reach them.
  • Just be specific and concrete. Your goals need to be clear, not vague. If not, you will not know for sure what you need to do. Figure out the real truth, not what you wish were true.
  • Begin with short-term goals. The more relatively achievable your first goals are, the more possibly you can solve your problems. You also can set long-term goals, but ensure that you have short-term ones as well. Short-term goals might help you reduce the workload.

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If you want to learn about critical thinking to improve your problem-solving & decision-making skills, the Michael Kallet’s Think Smarter book can be the best choice for you.

6. Generate Potential Solutions

Try to generate a range of possible courses of actions or solutions for your problems. The biggest mistake that the majority of people usually make when it comes to solutions is that they tend to think about same old solutions. What you need to tackle with now is thinking about new solutions. In order to do that, you should know about some brainstorming regulations:

  • Devise different solutions. Make a list of solutions you can think of to diversify your options. The options should be different from each other. Some solutions may be good; some may not be possible, due to other problems, like time constraints or budgets. Try to come up with at least 10 possible solutions, so the possibility to resolve your problem will be higher.
  • Do not judge the solutions. Think of solutions and options as many as your could, not choose one of them. This is not the time for you to judge the solutions. Sometimes, silly or strange solutions will be the best choice for you at the stage. Overlooking less important options will not help you control your situation and resolve all your problems. 

7. Ask For Help If Necessary

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When you feel that it is impossible for you to deal with the problems by your own, then you need to get the help from others. Before asking the assistance, ask yourself several questions such as will your solutions will help you get your goals, or how much time and effort you will spend on this solution, or what the costs and benefits of this solutions are, etc. Having the answers for these questions will help you make the right decision of whether or not you should get help from people around. Remember that there is no perfect solution but the one that can meet all your criteria.

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8. Meet Your Commitments

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When it comes to problem solving skills, there is a rule that you need to know in problem solving. Just do what you promise and do not promise what you cannot afford. Meeting your commitments can strengthen relationships and build trust firmly. Also, you need to solve messy problems as well. If there are some changes which can break your commitments, let others know as soon as possible so that they can make proper changes to their own plans.

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9. Plan For Things That Go Wrong

Actively prepare yourself to cope with anything that can go wrong during problem solving process. We cannot control everything with 100% successful rate because the unexpected happens in life; thus, you need to anticipate the result after each of your action. Figure out what can get in and out the way of your problem solving effort and develop appropriate contingency plans for each accidental situation.

10. Refuse To Accept  “Either/Or” Thinking

Perhaps, you are one of a large number of people who keep the thought of “either/or” thinking in mind when dealing with problem. “Either/or” thinking just limits your ability, your options. So, always look for a third, fourth, and even fifth alternative. Do not limit yourself with limited choices and view. If possible, look for more choices and start thinking of ways that combine appropriately those solutions. By this way, you will solve your problem effectively and permanently.

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11. Carry Out The Solutions

This is considered as one of the most important yet difficult problem solving skills that is recommends by many experts and professionals. At this stage, you need to actually start carrying out the solution you choose. Most people are afraid that they are choosing wrong solution, or there might be another better solution that they have not found out. This is totally not helpful thinking. It is better for you to take action rather than do nothing at all.

Carrying out a solution that means you need to make a detailed plan. You just can do your solution well if you know how you will carry out it. The plan should be as concrete and specific as possible.

12. Review

Problem solving may require a number of attempts. It is critical for you to review and evaluate all of the process you have to move along. Sometimes, the first attempt to resolve the problem might not succeed – hitches or unexpected difficulties may arise. Or, some solutions might need to be modified or new ones added. It is necessary to remember what you have gained and to reward yourself afterward for a job well done. In case that the solution does not work, may be some changes need to be carried out. 

Well, the process of learning problem solving skills might require from you much effort, time as well as patience. I hope that the tips introduced in this article will be useful to you.
If you are interested in the post, we are open to welcome any discussion or debate about this subject. Leave your comments at the end of this post to let us know what you think. We appreciate your contribution and will answer all as soon as possible.

If you want to learn about critical thinking to improve your problem-solving & decision-making skills, the Michael Kallet’s Think Smarter book can be the best choice for you.

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