Learning how to be a good problem-solver is something that’s important in every area of life. No matter what your job description is or which industry you work in, being able to stay on your toes and find solutions is an invaluable skill. People use problem-solving skills on a daily basis, in both their personal and professional lives. Reaching a compromise in your relationship, finding the most efficient way to cut costs at work, or figuring out how to manage your money all require problem-solving skills.
By becoming a better problem-solver, not only will you be able to thrive professionally, but no obstacle will be too challenging for you!
So what are the steps to solving problems effectively? Let’s take a look!
1. Identify the Problem
The first step of problem-solving might seem obvious, but it is often overlooked; that is, to have a clear understanding of what the problem actually is. Rather than trying to tackle numerous problems at once, focus on a single problem at a time.
2. Define the Main Elements of the Problem
Once you know what the problem is, you have to clearly define it. How often have you generalized a problem in your life? We do it all the time! For example, if your problem is that you spend too much money, you probably won’t solve the problem. However, if your problem is that you spend $100 over your daily budget, the problem is more concise and solvable. Thus, getting clear about your problem, what the main elements are, and what problems might be interrelated are crucial in order to actually solve the problem.
3. Look for possible solutions
The next step to solving problems is to start brainstorming and thinking outside the box about possible solutions. This requires creativity as you come up with various solutions, as well as some alternative ideas in case your first solution doesn’t work.
4. Make a Decision
An effective problem-solver needs to be decisive. Once you have a list of possible solutions, narrow down your list of solutions and decide on the best plan to follow through on. You need to have enough conviction in your chosen solution and trust that you can execute it successfully.
5. Take Action
Once you have chosen your solution, action is key. Executing your solution carefully and deliberately. It doesn’t matter how many solutions you come up with or how good they are; without effective implementation, the problem will not be solved.
6. Look for Lessons
Finally, a good problem-solver always takes time to reflect and evaluate the entire process. Look back at what went well and what could have been better, so that the next time you have to tackle a problem you can be more effective and productive.
We face numerous problems on a daily basis, and while some are more complex than others, the steps required to effectively solve a problem remain more-or-less the same. If you feel stuck with a problem or want to get better at solving problems, whether personally or professionally, try intentionally going through the steps listed above. In addition, develop other skills such as creativity, decisiveness, and execution to get better at problem-solving.