"A problem is half solved, when the problem is understood"
Today we share with you 4 effective problem solving tips, where we outline ways you can be more confident about finding the best solutions to your problems, by better understanding the problem in the first place.
Problem solving is a skill in itself, and like your confidence, it’s a skill that is required to be learned and worked on every day.
Being a confident problem solver is also a key to success in your career as well as your life in general.
When we reflect on our childhood, it often seems our biggest problem was deciding what ice-cream flavour we liked or what toy we wanted to play with next. As we grow older our problems seem to get more; in quantity, difficulty and complexity. Unfortunately, we can’t just find solutions to problems based upon how they taste or how they might smell and pick the best alternative… (if only!)
Photo by Nicole De Khors from Burst
But let’s stop there - because we can’t just have a problem and skip straight to the solution.
Yes - there’s a whole process behind getting from the problem to the solution and understanding the problem is the most important part of the process.
Why? Because if you don’t understand the problem, how can you find and have the right solution?
In this post we will focus on providing 4 effective problem solving strategies on how you can identify the problem and try to understand it.
Find the REAL problem – do not address just the symptoms.
Often they say ‘where there is smoke, there is fire’. In this instance, imagine if you tried to get rid of the smoke first instead of trying to put out the first fire. It would be impossible to get rid of the smoke, because the smoke will continue to be created by the burning fire. If you don’t put out the fire, then you won’t get rid of the smoke.
The same is true when you are trying to understand a problem and trying to identify the real problem.
Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst
The 'five' why approach
One approach that is proven effective is the 5 Why approach – this is where you find a reason and ask ‘why’ five times, to help drill down on your answer and try to get more understanding of what is causing the issue.
This approach is usually applied in the workplace, but it can also be applied in your every day life.
Often we tend to think skills we learn at work are not skills to apply in life. But understanding ‘why’ in any relationship problems may facilitate more meaningful relationships with your loved ones. Not only is the problem understood, but the other person may feel they are understood as well. This opens up communication channels and allows us to find a more suitable solution.
Remove yourself from the problem
In these instances we have to be more open minded and put our egos and biases to the side. In some instances we may have to realise or come to the realisation that we are part of the problem, and that we play a responsibility in contributing to the solution.
Often times this is one of the hardest things to do, to accept that your actions or lack of actions may have contributed to the problem.
It’s very easy to get defensive, because no one likes to be wrong or proven wrong. All we can ask is that you are aware of this, and you try to stay objective in understanding the problem and your role in it.
Photo by Samantha Hurley from Burst
Understand any inter-related issues
Unlike the stripes on a Zebra, not every problem is clear cut or black and white. Not every problem is simple and simply solved.
Try to understand any inter-related factors at play, that could also be contributing to the problem. This can be quite overwhelming, so perhaps limit it to three of what you consider are the most important influences.
Once you have identified the main ones, you know that your solution will not likely be sabotaged by other important factors you didn’t consider.
Photo by Sarah Pflug from Burst
Any problem that is important and can't be ignored must be understood. Use these 4 helpful problem solving tips the next time you need to find the right solution.
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4 helpful problem solving tips to find the right solution confidently.
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Herparade team x