Whether you are student, businessman, worker or professional and whether in school, workplace or office, everyone will face problems in some shape or form. You will often be required to solve them as part of carrying out your task. Some of those problems are pretty much clear and straightforward to solve; however, that is not always the case.
Whether it is solving a customer’s problem or dealing with an issue impacting your goals, skills of solving problem come in handy when you are to resolve difficult matters or complex situation.
No one is born knowing to deal with problems, but it is a skill that can be learned. This skill will further improve in practice as you are solving issues in different situations. To help solve an issue when encountered in your day to day life, the procedure defined below can help guide you through a systematic and effective way to find the solution to the problem.
5 steps of Problem Solving
The first step in the 5 steps of problem solving is finding the problem and get it defined properly to fully understand the issue. This is to ensure you will be addressing the root of problem and not just symptoms or effects of it. When properly defined it can be broken into smaller parts which when described more specific and concise can be easier to plan solving.
Sorting the Main Elements of the Problem
The key factor to solve a problem, is breaking it into smaller elements that are more manageable. It helps to make problem manageable when analysing the problem and deciding on the best solution as you start to become aware of the several aspects of the problem.
After sorting out the main elements of a problem, it becomes obvious to look for various possible solutions for each specific element of the problem. It requires in depth analysis for viability of each suggested solution and their possible adverse impact must be analyzed. It is necessary to think creatively and weigh different solutions before integrating them to have comprehensive and effective solution at the end.
Act to Solve the Problem
Develop a solid action plan to ensure the selected solution properly implemented in a controlled manner. The proposed plan should be implemented step by step and all stakeholders should be onboard and understanding why the selected solution was chosen together with the expected outcome. Once an action plan is in place, start acting on the plan while monitoring and evaluating in parallel with it being implemented.
Look for New Lessons Learned and Evaluate the Process
As mentioned in last step, with each process of solving problems you learn new expertise and gain new experience that helps to develop confidence as well. You should note all lessons learned and analyze how you can make the problems solving process much faster and more effective.
Once you become familiar with 5 steps of solving problems, then you can further build your level of skill in each step. Some people are good at creating ideas but struggle to act on them and the implementation part. Other people are good at the execution part, but cannot take decisions on what solution to use. By identifying the different problem-solving steps, it allows you to focus on your weak points and make a team with someone who’s strengths complement yours.