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Solve problems: Discover the benefits for you on the job

Reading time 7 minutes
Solve problems: Discover the benefits for you on the job

Problems face us in every situation in life. They don't stop at age, money, or even good karma. And shall we tell you something? That's a good thing too! Problems are there to be solved, and so each time they bring us a little further forward in life. If you can solve problems, you can easily overcome life's obstacles and reach your goal. Do you want to do the same? Then read on!

Solving problems: Why is it important?

We can't get around them: problems. We encounter them in everyday life, in our family circle, at work, in fact everywhere. Most people believe that life puts them in our way to annoy us. It wants to slow us down and thus prevent us from achieving our goals. But let's face it: the universe is not conspiring against you. We all face problems from time to time - the only question is how we deal with them.

Don't see them as obstacles, but rather as challenges. Every problem gives you the chance to grow. In order to solve it, you acquire new skills, summon up all your courage, jump over your shadow, and maybe even overcome fears. Without this challenge, you might never have made it this far. Once you have mastered the hurdle, you can look back proudly on your achievement and your Self-confidence push properly.

With every problem you face, you train your brain, your resilience and increase your self-esteem. In a nutshell: You become smarter, psychologically stronger and more refined. If that doesn't encourage you to face problems courageously from now on, what does? So, even if it is unpleasant - give yourself a jolt and face the challenge. 

problem solving methods

Problem solving processes offer you these advantages at work

On the job, it's often not that easy to solve problems, because usually numerous people are involved, sometimes even several departments. That makes it all the more important to work out a structure for dealing with problems as a team. Organization is a very important point here. If you work together on an orderly problem-solving process, you save yourself a lot of chaos. At the same time, you promote your Teamwork and creates connections beyond its own department - depending on who is involved.

At the same time, the search for solutions is more rational and objective. Different perspectives, views and ideas come together and so you can avoid approaching the matter too subjectively.

Checklist for effective problem solving

Only six steps, including methodical hints and control questions, separate you from finding a quick and goal-oriented solution, no matter what the problem. However, it is important to write everything down. Problem solving is a complex process, even if you may not be aware of it. It helps you immensely to make notes again and again to ensure clarity and not to lose the overview.

More importantly, don't skip any of the six steps! Each one is incredibly important for problem solving. If you skip one, you run the risk of not grasping all facets of the issue. You will then lose information that you urgently need for a successful solution.

Also, make sure that you keep the order of the steps. They all build on each other and therefore cannot and should not be interchanged. But now we've talked enough, let's go! Here are the six steps on your checklist for effective problem solving!

1. analyze the background

What exactly is the origin of the problem and what should be done differently in the future? When answering this question, make use of numbers and dates so that you can orient yourself to fixed values. If you carry out this step comprehensively and conscientiously, up to 40 % solution potential already slumbers in it!

2. describe the problem

You have now done the preliminary work and can now turn to the problem itself. Describe it as concretely as possible and also note who it affects. With the first two steps, you ensure that everyone involved interprets the problem correctly and has an understanding of its background. In this way, you have created the most important prerequisites for its solution.

3. evaluate the scope and importance of the problem

Now it's time to evaluate the problem quantitatively. It's best to use numbers and data here as well. How much money does the problem cost you? Are you losing money because of it, or are you having to spend unexpected amounts that you weren't prepared for? Does the problem set you back in your schedule and if so, how long?

4. clarify the need for action

What happens if you don't get the problem under control? Is it just annoying or do you have to expect serious consequences? In the fourth step, you clarify whether the problem really needs to be addressed or not.

If so, then the next question is whose job is it? Who holds the reins and decides what happens? And who is responsible if it doesn't work out or even more problems arise?

5. find appropriate measures to solve problems

If the problem actually needs to be addressed, then of course you need to clarify how exactly this is to be done. For this purpose, you first define what result you want. What exactly should be different?

At this point, take another look at step number 1 and consider the causes. They are always the starting point of your problem-solving strategy. Then you define exactly which steps are necessary and who performs which task at which time.

6. control the successes

You think you have solved the problem? In the sixth and last step, you measure this very precisely. You now check whether the goals you set for yourself have actually been achieved. Note down what exactly has changed and also what other problems have arisen in the meantime or may now arise in retrospect. Communicate all of this with everyone involved so that you can solve problems more effectively in the future.

4 simple steps to solve your problems

You can check off the preparation for problem solving in four simple steps. We're going to show you what they are now!

1. define the problem

Of course, before you can solve problems, you must first determine exactly what they are. What doesn't meet your expectations? Where did something go wrong? The best thing to do is to compare the target situation with the actual situation. The more concrete your approach, the easier it will be for you to solve problems.

2. analyze the causes

The starting point for solving problems is always the causes. And you can analyze these first. How could the problem arise in the first place? What factors led to it? Uncover all the causes that could be responsible for it.

3. develop proposals for solutions

The starting point is clear. The question now is, "How do we solve the problem?" Develop possible strategies that will lead you to your goal. You can use your own experience as a guide or consult other people who may have faced a similar challenge before.

4. evaluate the proposals

You have now collected a few possible solutions. But which of them promises the greatest success? That's what you have to find out now. To do this, you define a few criteria that the appropriate approach must fulfill and compare the proposals with them.

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Solve problems: Find the right problem solving method

Every challenge is different, and so are the methods we use to meet them. That's why there is no general magic formula for solving problems - we wish there were! We have a wide variety of approaches to choose from, and it's up to us to figure out which one is best suited for which problem. In the following we give you an overview.

1. structured methods

Structure is the be-all and end-all of goal-oriented work. This includes targeted questioning techniques or good old mind mapping. When creating a mind map, the main problem takes center stage. You connect all your ideas and approaches to solutions in a meaningful way and create links between them. This helps you on the one hand not to let any ideas fall under the table and on the other hand not to lose the thread.

2. kaizen

Kaizen actually describes a Japanese philosophy of life and work, which is about constantly improving oneself and one's own life. And that's exactly what you apply to a problematic situation. Once you have found a solution that has proven itself, you integrate it into the standard procedure. Then you do not wait for the next problem, but make further improvements all by yourself. This prevents further problems from arising in the first place, because you are always one step ahead of them.

3. creativity techniques

Not everyone's head is organized and structured. If you're more of a creative free spirit, then methods like brainstorming are better suited to you. You write down everything that comes to mind about the topic, no matter how jumbled your ideas may be. Only at the end do you organize them and put them into context.

4. quality function deployment

Quality Function Deployment is mainly used for problem solving in companies. Here, it is primarily a matter of implementing the wishes and requirements of customers and adapting one's own products accordingly.

5. value analysis

Value analysis is also used in companies to improve products. You use it to take a close look at the processes and optimize them for the purpose of Satisfaction of the customers. In this problem-solving method, you combine systematic and creative approaches to solutions.

6. process management

You can only solve problems by working out goal-oriented procedures and this is done within the framework of process management. You analyze which activities are necessary to eliminate the problem and define the processes step by step. Various tools, such as the SIPOC model, help you to do this. This allows you to describe processes simply and clearly.

Solving problems: the difference between great and average leaders

Problems are there to be solved. But the way you go about it separates the wheat from the chaff. If you just put them off or solve them half-heartedly, you will eventually face them again. But if you approach the problem solving intensively and in an organized way, then it will finally be over and nothing will stand in the way of your success. In our Workbook "Ten business coaching tips for your career". we'll show you how to make it even further up the career ladder.

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Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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