“Problem Solving” is a loaded phrase: Be careful with this one, my friends. Before jumping in the deep end, I want to share something about myself that I have found to be effective. I keep a list of “loaded” words for my own use from time to time, to use as a filter to see if my communications are loaded with undesired messages that can produce undesired results. The list includes can’t, won’t, impossible, unwilling, and the most over used word is “problem”. The word itself has so many possible connotations; its use can either produce positive action resulting in real solutions or used negatively that can label a person, situation or company in a negative light leading to limitations on personal, professional or company growth.
We think our employers, prospective or existing, want problem solvers. What they actually desire is people who are ready and willing to face challenges. This is not nitpicking. Problems can be festering boils of discontent just sitting there waiting for anyone to attach blame, or to dismiss as something that belongs to somebody else, while a challenge is something that addresses who we are and who we aspire to be. A challenge requires that you face it head on, own it, and take steps to overcome it.
You can use the following steps to face a challenge and develop real solutions that promote positive steps forward.
1. Identify and define the challenge. Look honestly and objectively at the situation. If you need some help with this, you can find some very powerful ideas by starting here: strategic planning.
2. Communicate effectively while discussing possible solutions and selecting the best one. This will certainly involve assembling the right team, and possibly stepping back and letting them do the work: organizational engineering.
3. Break the solution down into quantifiable steps with measurements for success: the need for metrics.
4. Establish a time line that makes sense for achieving each step. Take the steps identified in number 3 and set a realistic goal for when each is to be accomplished, and for the motivation of your team, what the rewards might be. For a more detailed study of this step, you could start with this short article by Mindtools.
5. Maintain a healthy attitude, set the example, and get it done!
It has been said, and I believe it to be true, that a leader must repeat important principles a minimum of fifteen times before the group begins to finish your sentence for you and repeat what you have said in their own discussions. If your statements stem from honesty, integrity, and transparency, the repetition will only enhance your team’s acceptance and embracing of the mission. Once this has happened, you will be amazed at what they can accomplish. You will, by default, create a stronger and more cohesive team that is ready to take on challenges and provide viable solutions.
At Cogent Analytics, we never stop looking for ways to improve your business and neither should you. So, check out some of our other posts for helpful business information: