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How to Solve Problems

How To Solve Problems

How to solve problems

We face problems throughout our lives, both at work and at home, most of which we can easily handle. However, when faced with more difficult problems, the ability to apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills will be of benefit.

Here are ten ways that will assist you to identify and solve problems.

  1. Keep your fearful imagination under tight control.
  2. Get the facts, never guess.
  3. Define the problem in writing.
  4. Take immediate action to mitigate any further loss or damage, caused by the existence of the existing problem.
  5. Draw a schematic diagram of the problem, showing all the known elements.
  6. Make a list of all the unknown elements, and any questions you need answered.
  7. Draw up a list of all the people and agencies who can help or advise.
  8. Don't talk to your friends and family about your problems, UNLESS they are experts in the field.
  9. With all the information gathered in the above steps, make your plan in writing.
  10. Implement the plan and observe the results.

1. Keep your fearful imagination under tight control.

When things go wrong, it is tempting to allow your fearful imagination to conjure up a host of horror stories, based upon incomplete information.

You must keep your fears in check.

2. Get the facts, never guess.

Gather every fact pertaining to the problem. Write everything down in a notebook to deal with this specific problem.

Never guess, and don't imagine. Instead, find out for sure. If in doubt, check it out.

3. Define the problem in writing.

Once you have all the facts, then crystallise the exact nature of the problem.

You need to understand what you are dealing with.

The most important step to solving a problem, is correct diagnosis.

4. Take immediate action to mitigate any further loss or damage caused by the existence of the existing problem.

The existence of a problem may be the cause of further problems.

Once you have identified the problem, you must then act to reduce the likelihood that problem A does not trigger problem B, C and D.

Limit the damage.

5. Draw a schematic diagram of the problem showing all the known elements.

You need to see the problem and all its moving parts in the form of a diagram. Sketch out a flow chart diagram and map out every known fact and variable.

Decision Making and Problem Solving : How To Solve Problems

6. Make a list of all the unknown elements, and any questions you need answered.

There will be some things you do not know. Make a list of all the things you don't know and need to find out.

7. Draw up a list of all the people and agencies who can help or advise.

Assume that every problem has been experienced by thousands of people before you, and they have solved the problem. Therefore, we can be sure that there is knowledge and expertise in the world that knows exactly how to solve your problem.

Your task is to gain assistance from those expert people and agencies who have experience with this type of problem.

Get expert help.

8. Don't talk to your friends and family about your problems, UNLESS they are experts in the field.

Friends and family will dish out bad advice and may take you off track.

9. With all the information gathered in the above steps, make your plan in writing.

Taking all the information and help you have assembled, write out the list of the first six things you must do, and in what order. Then do them.

Decision Making and Problem Solving : How To Solve Problems

10. Implement the plan and observe the results.

As you implement your first plan, the situation will change, and you need to keep a very close eye on how things are evolving.

Your actions will either:

  • improve the situation, or
  • fail to improve the situation, or
  • it will make things worse.

Keep an eye on things and, if necessary, return to step one and repeat.

Problem Solving Training Course

We run a bespoke in-house Problem Solving Training Course to train your staff to develop their problem solving abilities. Delegates have told us how they feel more confident at handling problems and more skilful at identifying potential issues, after attending this course.

About the Author: Chris Farmer

Chris

Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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Further Reading in Decision Making and Problem Solving

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  • How To Solve Problems
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  • 10 Steps to Solving Problems at Work
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  • The Law of Diminishing Returns
    More is not necessarily better. There is a point which is optimum. After this point comes diminishing returns, where additional amounts of time, money and effort are ineffective and may even be dangerous.
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