Problems at work are inevitable, but you can solve them faster and lessen your stress by resolving problems efficiently. Specifically, if you tackle a problem when it arises, there is less of a chance that it can develop into a less manageable problem in the future. Fortunately, solving business problems is not unlike how we solve problems in our personal lives. You must identify the problem, determine its cause, gather information about it and decide on how to solve it.
You can solve even the most difficult problems quickly using the steps outlined below from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of Atlanta, Georgia.
1. Identify The Problem — Before you can tackle an issue, you need to know the parameters of the problem. If the problem involves a team member, third-party vendor or customer, describe the issue after they explain it to you. This will ensure that you are properly identifying the issue.
2. Determine The Cause Of The Problem — Of course everyone wants to resolve the problem, but before you do, you should determine what caused the issue in the first place. This will prevent the same mistake in the future. If there was a breakdown in communication or a deviation from procedures, note that weak point in your process.
3. Brainstorm Solutions — Using a whiteboard, quickly brainstorm possible solutions. Write down everything you think of and don’t over-think it. Keep in mind that there may be more than one right answer.
4. Decide On A Solution — Eliminate solutions that cannot or will not work. Rank your remaining possible solutions in order, best to worst. Consider all positives and negatives of each solution while doing this.
5. Take Action ASAP — The longer you wait to fix a problem, the more likely it can get out of hand. This will only add to your stress and spawn new problems. Formulate a quick action plan and immediately embark on the first step.
Remember, problem solving skills are important skills—both in your business and life. Effective business leaders handle work problems calmly, quickly and efficiently. By working quickly toward a fast and amicable solution, you will show your team that you are able to handle these issues fairly and effectively as they arise.
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