- Introduction to Problem Solving Techniques
Daily we make a lot of decisions in the organisation whether it is for hiring or firing people. The decisions that we make are for the company’s efficiency. As new technologies emerged companies nowadays need workers who can analyse, reflect, evaluate options, make decisions and implement them. Because decision-making for a company is a bit more complex but efficient leaders can make it simpler and easier through their creative leadership skills. Modern leaders should adopt the changes that new technologies bring and implement them to become the best in that area to beat the competition. Sometimes we have to face negative comments on the product or services we are offering. Negative comments can impact the reputation of the company so to deal with negative comments we should understand the problem that people are facing, without understanding the exact problem we cannot make an appropriate decision. Most people fail or even lose their businesses just because of the negative comments of the customers. The reason why they lose their business is that they do not focus on the problem, and become stressed and paralysed. That is the reason why a company should hire an efficient leader because of their extraordinary problem solving techniques and making the right decisions for the relevant problem.
- Changing your perception of problems
Four Major Steps of Problem Solving
- Understand a problem
First, you should understand the problem. This will help us in collecting the right information for the right problem. This step is very important because if we don’t understand the problem we will not collect the right information and ultimately we will make a wrong decision so understanding the problem is very important.
- Embark on an analysis
After you have identified the problem, now research it. Broad research about a particular problem will be very helpful. The benefit of analysis is you start doing investigation work. You will discover methods to find solutions
- Evaluate the solution
In the third step, we have to identify that either the solution that we’ve got is relevant and is meeting the needs of a business.
- Take action-implement them
The final step is to implement the selected solution. It is very important because nothing changes without action.
Problem Solving Mindset
Fear is one of the main obstacles to problem-solving. People with fear in their minds like fear of failure, fear of being judged by others, fear of being incompetent, and fear of making wrong solutions to the problem do not hold a proper problem-solving mindset. People who love to engage in activities to find a solution to the problem by beating fear acquire a strong problem-solving mindset. One of the major fear is asking others for help. Asking someone to share their experience is not bad in fact this approach gives help in both ways regarding knowledge and courage to interact with different people.
Now the point is how to manage fear to prevent it from slowing us down in making decisions. Successful leaders face fears with calm. Successful leaders know that the only way to overcome fear is to face it. Facing fear increases self-confidence while ignoring fear can negatively impact individuals by decreasing self-esteem and self-confidence.
What is a Problem?
Dictionary tells us that a problem is a difficulty that must be resolved to obtain a result in a stable or dangerous situation requiring a decision. Most people ignore problems because it gives stress, and requires more effort to find solutions,
Scientifically a problem is a question to be solved that is open to discussion. The scientific definition is more satisfying because it tells us that instead of closing your eyes and ignoring the problems you make them visible. You will engage in activities, and find solutions to overcome fear.
Adopting The Right Mindset
The importance of your attitude when you encounter a problem is the key to solving a problem. A positive and proactive approach can give you the strength to solve problems efficiently. A proactive approach can take you to the next level in solving a problem. Don’t wait for the problem to come to you and then you will start solving it and start focusing on the future. Forecast the problems that can arise in the future and start working on them to find alternatives. Right Mindset can bring changes like entrepreneurs have a positive mindset that they have to find solutions to a problem in any way. Successful leaders and entrepreneurs are successful because of their extraordinary skills in finding solutions to bring changes and are in search of new ideas. Managers should be follow these problem solving techniques so they will become a good problem solver so that they can lead the business and succeed in the job.
- Identify and Formulate a Problem
Develop Active Listening
Good leaders challenge their clients or colleagues for solving a problem. They take full responsibility for the new challenge. Here the question is how and why do they accept these difficult challenges?
By actively listening to the problems and engaging in communication, participation, and questioning the clients and colleagues. They are more detail-oriented because they want to understand every point of the problem to best deal with it. Negotiates the pros and cons and starts collecting the information.
The 5 WS and 1 H Method
The five Ws and one H method consist of asking open questions. Instead of saying yes/no they ask open-ended questions.
The 5 WS and 1 H method consists of some questions including when, who, why, what, where, and How?
The goal is to collect all information necessary to clarify a situation, a problem challenge, and also to limit its scope.
The goal of the “What” question is to identify the nature of the problem.
5 WS and 1H Questions include:
- What is it about?
- Which Product?
- Which constituent?
- What Surface?
- Which activities or practices are affected by the problem?
- Then Who to identify?
- Which Stakeholders are impacted?
- Who noticed the problem?
- Who is affected?
- Where don’t you find the place of occurrence?
- Where does it take place?
- At What stage of the process?
- When to identify the temporal characteristics of the problem?
- Timing, duration, and frequency.
- How long had the problem existed when the problem occurred
- After which event?
- How Frequently?
- How soon
- Then how to identify the mode of occurrence of the problem
- How does the problem manifest itself
- In What Context
- Why question to identify the reason and the lie in the causes?
This method is very helpful to consider all aspects of the problem and will cover every detail required to collect the information.
Pareto’s Law prioritizing and ordering problems
This law tells us that 80% of the effects are the product of 20% of the causes. So action on 20% of the causes solves 80% of the effects.
We can make surveys based on comments of the customers that which product or service has a problem.
- Research and Identification of causes
How to find the root cause of a problem
Most people find the problem but do not focus on the root cause of that problem. They start finding solutions instead of finding the root cause that causes the problem.
Finding the root cause of the problem is very important because if we identify what the actual root cause is we can improve it and for the next time we will be prepared.
The 5 Whys Technique
This technique is used to ask questions to yourself that what your mistakes were that causes the problem. What were the root causes of this technique we have to describe those root causes in these 5 whys
We use this technique
- To get better results after understanding the problem.
- To get details to find solutions more quickly.
The Fishbone or Ishikawa Diagram
- This technique gives a visual representation of the causes and effects of the problem.
- It can also be used to identify risks when starting a project.
- If we have to find a detailed root of a problem we can use the Ishikawa diagram to do so.
- We can notice the defects that are occurring by drawing a fishbone diagram.
- Identify Solutions
Think Out of the Box
- Every successful leader thinks creatively like an entrepreneur.
- Thinking out of the box can open many doors and alternatives to the problem and can make certain problem looks easier and simple to solve.
- Creativity brings changes.
Using the Six Hats Method
- This Method allows you to solve problems, and find solutions while exploring original and usual ideas.
- Different colors of hats represent different ideas.
- This method is different from other methods and it is different from the natural way of thinking.
Organize Animate Brainstorming
- Brainstorming is another method for solving a problem.
- It is a collective collaboration.
- Participants present their ideas.
- Each idea that is presented by the participants is valuable, considered, and appreciated.
The Mental Map or Mind Map
- Representation of a problem graphically.
- It allows a vast range of ideas.
- Evaluation and Selection
- Now we have to evaluate and select between the alternatives.
- Every solution has some advantages and disadvantages
- The first step is to list the advantages and disadvantages of each solution.
- We choose a solution according to logical criteria.
- After that we have to consider the solution which has minimum disadvantages and maximum advantages.
- Decision Matrix is also used to evaluate and select between alternatives. It is also a weightage allocation process each alternative gets points for strong or weak.
- Decision Matrix assigns weighs and coefficients to each criterion.
- Apply the chosen solution plan and monitor
- Now the most important part is to take action.
- You have identified the problem and find the solution for your problem.
- Implement the solution in a way that the problem never arises again in the future.
- This will boost your confidence and allow you to make better decisions in the future as well.
- Another concept in taking is to first launch MVP minimum viable product with minimum functionality to test in the market.
Identification of a problem is very important because we have to collect the relevant information regarding the problem. This approach increases market research. After that, we have to find a solution for the problem so for that purpose we use different methods mentioned to create alternatives and to choose the best among them. At last we have to implement the selected solution.