Problems are one of the things that are constant in life. Problems are an integral part of our everyday lives whether we accept it or not. It is what keeps us innovative and also strives to be better in life.
Problem-solving ability is a crucial life skill everyone must learn, and it can be argued that we all have problem-solving skills because everyone encounters one form of problem or another.
Imagine trying to figure out a dress to wear for a party. The first thing you do is examine the type of party, the type of people you’d meet and all. The next step is to search your closet for the best outfit for the occasion, the next step is ironing, and then you address how you’d get to the party and so on. My point is that we all solve problems everyday whether consciously or unconsciously.
Problems are inevitable and our ability to solve them effectively and efficiently as they arise is what determines if we are controlled by our problems or if we control them. Proper management of our problems is the key to effective living. It is what makes us more confident and assured in life.
The reason why most people find it difficult to exercise their problem-solving skills is that a lot of people often jump into conclusions before truly understanding the context and density of their problem.
In this post, I’ll share with you, a simple problem-solving technique for solving problems irrespective of the size and situation.
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What is Problem-Solving Technique?
A problem-solving technique is simply the activities or processes you carry out in order to solve a problem or discomfort. Problem-solving is usually systemic in nature.
Why do we need a Problem-Solving Technique?
There are many reasons why a problem-solving skill is important both to individuals and organizations. The following are a few of the importance of problem-solving techniques.
· Enable you to fix what is broken
Nothing in life is perfect. It is due to the imperfect nature of our environment that we humans strive for perfection even though its an illusion. There are things that are always broken around us, whether it is business or personal lives, everything needs improvement.
Problem-solving skill is what enables us to find what’s broken, and develop the right strategy towards fixing it.
· Gives us an opportunity to explore
Great wealth and discoveries are direct results of problems. Your ability to provide and address a ‘lack’ or scarcity in society is what guarantees you to develop wealth, meaning, and purpose in life.
· Provide an Opportunity for Improvement
Every problem on earth provides us with a boundless opportunity for improvement. Like already mentioned, nothing is perfect in life. It’s the imperfection that enables us to innovative, explore, and create things that are worthwhile.
· Enable you to Mitigate Risk.
One of the fundamental benefits of problem-solving skills is that it enables an individual or organization to mitigate present and future risks. A risk that could be detrimental to productivity and growth.
· Problem-Solving Engineers Innovation
The world we live in keeps changing rapidly and these changes bring its challenges and problems. It’s our ability to comprehend and test different strategies that ensure we innovate and bring about products and services that enable us to live comfortably.
[Related: Learn how to increase your self-confidence]
Problem-Solving Technique for Solving any Problem
Like already mentioned, the reason why most people find it difficult to solve a problem is that they draw up a conclusion before they understand the density of their problem.
The following are a simple problem-solving technique that will enable you to address any problem you might encounter whether in your personal life or in business.
Define the problem
You can’t solve what you don’t know or understand. This is where a lot of people get derailed and lose sight of the real problem. They mistake symptoms for the problem.
Let us take Malaria for instance, the symptoms of malaria include headache, fever, cold, and so on. Now imagine treating just one of the following symptoms instead of the main problem – malaria. No matter how much you treat it, pray and every other thing we like to do, it would never go away. This is the reason why you mustn’t jump into conclusion when you have a problem. Avoid speculation.
Don’t solve a problem without facts or data.
The process to follow when identifying a problem:
- Ensure to differentiate facts from opinions.
- Define your goals, values, and objectives.
- Study and specify the underlying cause of the problem.
- Evaluate each factor you identified and state how they affect you.
- If it’s a business, you should identify within which process does the problem lies or affect.
Come up with Different Solutions
At this point, you should have an understanding of what the problems are and possible solutions available to you. It is advisable to suspend making a final decision at this stage but to just explore the solutions.
Avoid drawing up conclusions.
The process to follow when identifying solutions:
- Brainstorm on solutions to all the identified problems.
- List out all the possible solutions both short- and long-term solutions.
- List alternatives solutions that fit the problem.
- Specify alternative solutions based on your values, and goals.
- Include all the stakeholders to the problem (who the problem affects, how, and why).
Evaluate the Different Solutions
Here is where you get to evaluate the solutions you came up with to see which one fits the problem you’re facing and how effective your solutions are.
The process to follow:
- Select the best solution based on your values, and goals.
- Evaluate the best alternative without bias.
- Evaluate the solutions based on proven and expected outcomes.
- Define the best alternative clearly.
Implement Solutions and Follow up
At this stage, you simply implement the best solution based on your values, and goals.
For businesses and organizations, the process doesn’t just stop here. You have to collect feedbacks and reiterate the whole process until the desired outcome is achieved.
The process outlined might seem unnecessary for an everyday problem but its efficiency and effectiveness in problem-solving cannot be denied. It is important that you take out the time to dissect your problems before implementing any solution because not doing so would only result in a double problem, wastage, and frustration.