Problem-solving is a universal skill that is highly wanted by employers. It is applicable in any position and every industry. As a professional in the current workforce, complex problems often arise. Good problem-solving capabilities demonstrate an employee’s expertise, and proves to be of great value to any team. However, not all employees are as great problem solvers as they think. What can we do?
Problem-solving skills directly relate to the ability to define a problem; determine the cause of the problem; identify, prioritize and select a selection of alternatives as a solution; and implement the solution. In short, great problem solvers use logic and creativity to firstly define in a given situation (S) the challenges or complications (C). Then, they define the questions (Q) that need to be answered to come up with suitable (innovative) answers (A).
Effective problem-solving skills are one of the most valued attributes that lead to good leadership and are a fundamental component in entrepreneurialism. It is crucial to develop a strong skill for applying structured approaches to dissect and solve any problems that arise.
Not only is this beneficial in professional life, but it is also essential in day-to-day life. People are constantly solving problems, either consciously or unconsciously.
Example –It is storming outside and Sophia needs to go to work for an important meeting. What is she going to do?
Given the situation (Sophia needs to go to work) and the complication (it’s pouring), there are different questions she needs to ask (is it worse to arrive late, or soaking wet? What’s the change of a massive traffic jam? Is there an alternative?), to get to her preferred answer.
Different people will solve this ‘’problem’’ with different solutions, as there will be differences in weighted pros and cons of these situations. However, people with well-developed problem-solving skills will end up with the best critically reviewed and analyzed solutions of a scenario – large or small.
The initial obstacle seems to be becoming aware of the ‘’problem’’ that needs to be solved. People facing problems tend to avoid, procrastinate or blame someone else altogether rather than confronting a challenge head-on and finding a solution for it. However, the faster a problem is solved, the faster one can get more forward-looking work done.
Problem-solving is an art to be perfected over time, and like any skill, one gets better with practice. Understanding the different steps to solve a problem will definitely be beneficial for your learning process.
Practice makes perfect. Keep these 6 steps in mind and practice often to ensure maximum effectiveness. Problems will continue to arise, you can plan for them, but never totally avoid it. Therefore, it is of the essence to handle them in the most effective and efficient way.
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