When people work together, they can share and compare ideas and choose the one that best solves the problem. There is usually more than one solution to every problem. However, the process to solve a problem is always the same:
- Find the problem
- Define the problem
- Describe the problem
- Diagnose the problem
- Test the diagnosis
Problem Solving Elements:
Managing & Leadership:
- Building a Dynamic Team
- Delegating Responsibility
- Communicating Clearly
- The Power of Listening
- Finding Synergy & Flow
Analyzing a Problem:
- Some Areas of Focus
Without the proper framework or structure, your ideas will be scattered. Structure helps you layout all the information clearly, then prioritize your options. Most complex problems can be summarized into groups of smaller problems, which can be solved individually. This means separating your problem into specific issues while making sure that no issues relevant to your problem have been overlooked. Gather all the know facts you can and assemble them into distinct areas of focus.
A Hypothesis helps reduce the problem to its primary components: You generate your initial hypothesis by drawing conclusions based on whatever facts you know about the problem. Make some assumptions first then see if you can prove them. This provides your team with direction that leads to asking the right questions and performing the correct examination. It also gets things moving forward, fostering a free flow of ideas and generating involvement. Your hypothesis requires analysis that either confirms or disproves it and becomes part of the theory or grows to become the problem itself.
Forming & Managing a Team
Finding the right people and forming a dynamic team is one of the most important elements of problem solving. The group must be properly assembled, motivated, and assign specific accountability. Learn to work together and share ideas. Devise a proactive strategy and delegate responsibility. Find the key drivers and let your hypothesis determine your analysis; then support or refute the hypotheses. Always keep the information and knowledge flowing, for communication is everything. Listen more than you speak and maintain a sense of motivation during the project. Never get lost in the information and keep it as simple as possible. In any business a team that effectively works together, truly succeeds together.
When brainstorming, remember there are no bad ideas. Learn to be open, ask questions, and gather as much information as possible. Write everything down into different areas or sections then discuss and debate it. A little cynicism early on saves a lot of frustration later. Forming an initial hypothesis helps you leap ahead, then work your way backwards. Ask your team what assumptions are we making that need to be true in order for your hypothesis to be true? What do we need to prove in order for this to be right? Brainstorming can be fun and get things moving productively forward.
When attacking a problem, start at the top and systematically work your way down, grouping information and elements into their proper place. First break the problem up into the logical areas, such as finance, production, sales, marketing, product development or research. Each top section represents a specific section then branches off into other subsections, which further lead downward. This keeps all the elements properly categorized and helps you organize your data.
Where a logic tree is simply a grouping of elements, an issue tree is the series of questions or issues that must be addressed to prove or disprove a hypothesis. Issue Trees fill the void between structure and hypothesis. Through brainstorming you can represent each branch of the tree into an issue or question. Most likely, every issue will break down into sub-issues, and these will break down further. You need to figure out which top-line issues have to be true for your hypothesis to be true. What matters and what does not matter?
- Learn the most proactive techniques for problem solving
- Understand different methods and approaches
- Save time and resources by forming the proper structure
- Move through difficult issues efficiently
- Develop a proactive system for gathering information
- Form a dynamic group or team to help the process
- Work together smarter, not harder
- Know what is important and what is not
- Establish a clear flow of ideas and information
- Listen and communicate effectively
- Advance your company forward and competitively