A correct combination of art and science could be instrumental while solving a complex business problem. There are many techniques to get out of that hurdle but before you learn to become a problem solver you need to answer these 5 questions.
Is it a problem?
Most of the time the problem is just in our head rather than existing in the actual scenario. To tackle this issue a professional needs clarity of thoughts, to spot a difference between a problem and a regular glitch. Regular glitches keep on bothering and there is only one way to deal with them; let them go.
Is it possible to solve that problem?
Every problem has a solution but sometimes there are situations which are out of your hands. Like you can’t control the climate change alone. The same goes for the professional environment where you can’t solve the problem alone. Problems like these must be kept away till the time every stakeholder is onboard.
Can you solve the problem single-handedly?
If yes, then pull up your socks and end the period of uncertainty in your professional life. Situations which are not dependent on any other are easiest to resolve compared with the ones where multiple parties are claiming the stake.
If not, What kind of support would be required?
Once you comprehend all the tools or people you would need to solve that problem the road ahead will be easier. Say, you would need the approval of your manager or some technological integration to streamline the process which was a bottleneck for your services. If you are not aware of the resources required for solving a problem it would become a mess.
What will you achieve after the resolution?
Our time and energy are so valuable it should only be spent on result-oriented ways. A solution which won’t yield any profit or bring any substantial change needs no further attention. Scaling of solutions and their result is paramount for solving a specific problem.
Techniques and Approaches
Once you have answered all these questions you are in the position to Learn and become a problem solver
Let us dive into some techniques to help you solve the problem.
An average person can only keep a thought in mind for 3 minutes after that every detail starts fading away. Noting down every detail and then analysing the solution creates a clear path of resolution.
The Criss-cross Approach
Use listicles to pen down every possible solution on one side with pros and cons on the other side. Start by counting the pros and cons, whichever solution comes out with more cons than pros, cross that particular solution and keep on doing it till the time you have the best approach.
Once you get the grasp of a real problem multiple solutions should be found with alternates. A good problem solver looks after every “if and but” and has a plan B, C and so on for every event not going according to the plan.
Amidst business problems, you have to assume yourself as someone looking from outside. In a conventional situation, we tend to become streamlined with the situation which sometimes results in the same type of solution for every distinct problem.
Behaving like an outsider provides a different outlook which could be useful in solving problems in the business environment.
You need a Stressbuster
Problems are stressful and we know it. To get out from them, the primary focus should be to remove that extra burden of stress from your head. Try singing a song, play a casual game or go out for a walk.
Doing any of this will relax your mind and help you think better.
Brainstorming to get out of that storm
To solve a problem efficiently your thinking cap is necessary. Once that thinking cap is on, then your creativity and imagination can come up with unique solutions. You need this because conventionally you were not able to solve the problem.
Visualisation is the Key
Our mind visualises the best but the use of technology to see things straight would enhance it even further. Use statistics and charts to understand the issue. This way the clarity of the problem is attained.
Isolation and Resolution
You don’t have to isolate yourself to think better but the problem, so that it becomes weaker being alone.
When the problem is clubbed with other things it gets impossible to figure out the solution because of the larger force. Once you isolate the issue you only have to deal with one issue rather than other associated circumstances.
Finding relevant solutions is the approach followed by many but at times irrelevant things become relevant to your situation.
It’s just another way of saying “think outside the box”.
Ask for help
Being independent is cool but being stuck in a problem is the point of concern. To get out of this you would need some generous help from your team members or your higher management. Once you divide the work your problems would become easier to solve.
Sometimes we feel like it’s all fine and we will handle everything whatever the situation comes. That kind of confidence is great but sometimes we need to communicate our problems to peers so that you can get some useful insights. You never know which information could change the course of events.
No solution comes before a solution
Procrastinating about the events turning your way without doing much is just being naive. One has to work hard to achieve that important breakthrough and it is the ultimate one.
Assumptions are the biggest killer in any disruption. Rather than assuming the obvious, it is paramount to test every primary result no matter the size and volume.
Numbers don’t lie
Sometimes numbers don’t tell a different story but that doesn’t mean numbers are wrong they are always correct when coupled with the appropriate interpretation. Every statistic has multiple interpretations and finding the one which suits your business needs is the real skill.
Humans are born problem solvers, using the same to our strength is crucial. Try to remember how you solved the previous problems of your life or business and implement the same model which worked for you. This doesn’t guarantee a result but helps in coming up with more probable solutions.
Be it your consumers or your investors, at times they are well aware of the problem and the solution too. The catch is to reach out to them and get appropriate inputs to move ahead. Stakeholders irrespective of the size can’t be ignored.
We have talked a lot about approaches and techniques related to our mindset, now we should get on to the strategies useful for making a detailed plan and get out of a business problem.
Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat; Analyse all 4 and you will have a chart of areas where you are good at and the areas which need some improvement. Doing this will not solve your problem but will give you a basis to build a plan.
Once you are done with SWOT of the business or any department facing issues, you are headed towards strategic planning, where every chart or data of yours would be useful to devise a strategy which will work towards the resolution.
The strategy is a bigger plan while tactics are small moves which are made spontaneously. As a problem solver, one has to be ready for something going against the plan while in a business environment.
Now that we are done with planning, the next part is execution. Many plans look tremendous on paper but are not successful due to bad implementation. Let’s move towards our final part where we execute the strategies.
Once you are done with both tactical and strategic planning move on to the next part where you communicate the same to your team and everyone else involved in the execution process.
Business problems are not to be solved alone so you have to assign tasks to your team members and also trust them on this. Matching the skill set of each one with the type of work is paramount.
This is the biggest challenge and the most relieving one. If everything discussed is performed with perfection then execution will become as simple as a mouse click. But if somehow you or your team deviates from the plan then you have to be spontaneous and perform damage control. A problem solver is always prepared for last-minute tweaks.
Track and Report
Once you get into the execution phase it’s crucial to track every activity going without or without your plan. Doing this will help you make important decisions and will also help you get rid of your future problems.
By this time you must have solved the problems of yours, but reviewing the same to understand the impact and improve your process is important. Analysing every step and quantifying them will help you in every coming endeavour of yours.
Now you have Learnt to Come out of problems on your own, this will help you grow as a professional and also in your personal life. These methods work in every situation just remember to keep your head calm to keep thinking pragmatically.