Problems are encountered on a daily basis in everyone’s life. Some problems may be small while some may be difficult and complex. A person’s ability to face these problems and find an effective solution to these problems shows how good his interpersonal skills are.
Similarly, at workplace, we encounter lots of problems in our day to day work. The basic requirement for any employee is that he should be able to find an effective and optimized solution to such problems. The skill is not just limited to finding a solution, one must have ability to recognize the problem, analyze its impact on the business, prioritize it and come up with an optimum solution to resolve it.
While we are used to resolve our daily life problems, work related problems need to be addressed differently. Different techniques and methodology needs to be applied and the problems need to be worked in a constructive way.
In this module on problem solving we will be looking at different stages of problem solving and how a problem can be resolved in an efficient way.
- Identification of Problem
- Analyzing the Problem
- Proposing Solutions
- Decision Making
- Implementation of Solution
#Identification of Problem
As the name suggests, identifying the problem is the first step in the problem solving. Some problems are identified by users, customers, colleagues, etc. While some problems may be identified by self. Before defining it as a problem, the source of the problem and the things impacted due to the occurrence of the problem needs to be identified. Sometimes the problem identified may not be alone, there may be some sub-problems associated with it. We cannot ignore these sub-problems, and they also need to be addressed along with the main problem.
Once the problem is identified, define it in a language that can be understood by others.
#Analyzing the Problem
The next step in the problem solving should be to analyze the problem and gain deeper knowledge about it. Analyze all the facts, possibilities and problems relating to the problem.
The best way to get the complete picture of the problem is to use different visual aids like flowcharts, chain diagram, pros and cons diagram or simply listing down the different points. In this way, everyone will have the same understanding of the problem and can be brainstormed based on the different facts.
After analyzing the problem, next we must look out for all possible solutions to the problem. The best method for such situations is to brainstorm. Brainstorming can also be done individually, but it is more effective when done in groups. Make a note of all the points proposed by the participants, as they can lead to a best possible solution. Even when done individually, note down all the points that strike your mind. Question the thoughts, look out for similar problems in the past which have been resolved.
After this activity, you may come up with multiple solutions, which again needs to be analyzed for taking a decision.
To decide on which solution is best, we need to evaluate all the proposed solutions. Write down the pros and cons for each of the solution. Identify the risks, if any, associated with the solutions.
After evaluating the solutions, weighing down the pros and cons and the risks involved, we need to shortlist the most optimum solution to resolve the problem.
Once the solution on which action needs to be taken is decided, the next step is to implement the solution.
#Implementation of Solution
Discussing the solutions on paper and practically working on them are completely different from each other. While implementing the solution, you may face different other issues, especially if the problem was not analyzed completely.
Work on the plan to implement the solution. In case new issues occur, one need to look out for the solution immediately. Since you have already brainstormed a lot previously, it should be easy for you to handle such small issues.
Once the problem is resolved after implementing the solution, we should monitor the process for sometime. In case some practical issue reoccur, you will be able to resolve the issue immediately without affecting the other processes.