Effective Problem Solving
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As a manager and leader, problem solving is a core part of your role. In a
few instances you need to solve the problem immediately, for example, when the
fire alarm is ringing. In the vast majority of cases you can however take a more
So what are the key steps in effective problem solving?
Clearly Identify the Problem
While this might seem like stating the obvious, managers can fall into the
trap of starting to leap into action before they have got clarity on what the
To avoid this take time to get clear and write down the problem.
Establish the Facts
Getting a clear understanding of the facts is essential. This is particularly
important when dealing with a staffing problem such as a breakdown in a
relationship between colleagues. In these situations everyone will want to give
you their views some of which might be factual or some which might be personal
opinions. It is the facts that matter.
Identify Potential Solutions
The key at this stage is to identify possible solutions. Brainstorming or
mind maps are two excellent tools to use for identifying potential solutions.
Adopt an anything is possible approach to the process and don't start
eliminating things at this stage.
Review and Refine Potential Solutions
Go through all of the potential solutions and eliminate those that are
clearly not workable in this situation. Carry on this process until you have a
short list of 3-5 solutions. Weigh up the benefits and drawbacks of the 3-5
Select a Solution
Decide on what solution you are going to adopt in this particular case.
Once you have decided on your solution put it into action as quickly as you
Set up an appointment to review success and identify learning points.
At the end of the day, problems will always arise that need to be addressed.
Make sure that you stand out from the crowd when it comes to problem solving.
About the Author
Duncan Brodie is a Leadership Development Coach and Management Trainer at
Goals and Achievements
He specialises in helping accountants and professionals to make the
transition from technical expert to manager and leader.
As a former Finance Director he has real experience of the challenges faced
by professionals moving from technical expert to manager and leader.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2007-06-12 00:51:03 in Employee Articles