Problem Solving Techniques

When working in a team, no matter how small or large that team is, you can expect occasional problems with certain projects, employees or co-workers. The important rule in such situations is to stay calm, analyze the problem and find the best solution that can be implemented efficiently and at the least possible cost. Even if you are a freelancer managing your own time and work duties, you may come across similar issues. Here, we will present some of the business problem solving techniques along with a couple of tips and tricks that might help you develop better problem solving management skills.

1. Clarify the problem – define it. Always make sure you understand the exact problem, where it is happening, how, and who is directly and indirectly affected by that problem. Without clearly understanding these factors, you might take a completely wrong approach, causing you to lose both time and money. Understanding the problem should be your top priority when involved in business problem solving situations.
2. Gather the facts to better understand the problem. Do not hesitate to reach out to customers or co-workers or other employees in order to gather more facts and info about the problem you are facing. Put down a list so that you can better organize yourself. Do not rush with conclusions. If it takes a while to gather all the facts, then take your time.
3. Think about possible solutions. Find all available alternatives for solving that problem and examine every possible approach. When determining the best solution, make sure to take all inputs into consideration. How much will that solution cost? How much time will it take? Is it realistic and will it give good results? How will that solution affect your employees or co-workers? What’s the risk?
4. Consult with others about your chosen approach. Sometimes others will spot the things you might not have taken into consideration, which could turn out to be important. Get their opinions and verify that the chosen solution is indeed the best one for you and your company.
5. Develop an execution plan. Are there any shortcuts? Can you handle everything on your own or you want to delegate the execution of your plan? Form the strategy that will cost least with a maximum impact. If you decide to delegate the execution to your co-workers or employees, make sure to properly supervise that process. Leaving some issues and tasks half finished and half unresolved is a bad practice in business problem solving situations. If you are handling the execution of your plan on your own, and you estimate it will take a while, then break it down in steps. Breaking down a large procedure in smaller chunks will help you focus on the goal itself and execute your plan in a timely manner.
6. Explain your decision and plan to your coworkers and employees. Make sure everyone is on board with your decision and, if needed, explain the implementation of your solution and state the expected goals and results. Again, follow up with the person in charge of your plan execution and monitor the results.
7. Was the problem properly solved? Check on results and analyze. Examine the procedures taken as well as the overall costs in order to determine whether or not the right solution was applied for that specific problem. If a similar problem occurs in the future, will you involve the same people in your plan execution? Have you learned anything from this problem and are there any options to prevent it from happening again?

Again, as many times said, there are no universal solutions and answers that can be applied in just any given situation. Some problems may require you to adjust the steps, spend more time or resources on resolving those issues, or even hire professionals with problem solving management skills to help you determine specific problems, especially in large companies.

Karin Jakovljevic

About the author

Karin Jakovljevic

Karin Jakovljevic is the head of marketing at Ximble, a powerful, cloud-based workforce management system, simplifying employee scheduling and time tracking for retailers, restaurants and small businesses.

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