Management: 7 Tips for Improving Your Problem Solving Skills
by Duncan Brodie
Part of the role of a manager is to resolve problems. Solving problems relies on good problem solving skills. So what are my 7 tips for improving your problem solving skills?
Tip 1: Make sure you clearly identify the problem
When we have a heavy workload, we want to get things done as quickly as possible. In terms of problem solving this can be a big mistake. If we fail to identify the problem we end up coming up with a solution to a different problem. Make sure that you clearly identify what the problem is by probing and asking questions.
Tip 2: Create a list of possible solutions
When faced with a problem, you need to generate potential solutions. The simplest and probably the most effective way of generating a list of potential solutions is to brainstorm. This can be in the form of a list or a mind map.
Tip 3: Evaluate possible solutions
Once you have your list of possible solutions, take the time to evaluate them. This evaluation should look at the benefits, drawbacks, impact and objections as a minimum.
Tip 4: Narrow down your possible solutions
When you have completed your evaluation narrow down the solutions and find those that are likely to be the most effective.
Tip 5: Test where you can
If the problem is urgent and needs an immediate response, testing is not an option. The majority of problems however do not fall into this category and you therefore can take some time to test out some of your possible solutions on a small scale. It might be on part of the process or with a few staff.
Tip 6: Implement your final solution
Make a choice on your final solution to the problem that you are dealing with and go ahead and implement it as quickly as possible.
Tip 7: Review results and refine solution
Sometimes when we implement a solution, we don't get the results we expect. Make a point of reviewing your results, seeing where they are different from those expected and adjust your solution until you get the response you desire.
Solving problems is a key management role and the bigger the problem, the more important it is to be structured and methodical in your approach to problem solving.
Duncan Brodie may be contacted at http://www.goalsandachievements.co.uk
Duncan Brodie of Goals and Achievements Ltd (G&A) works with individuals, teams and organisations to develop their management and leadership capability. Sign up for his free e-course and monthly newsletter at http://www.goalsandachievements.co.uk