6 Simple Steps to Problem Solving You Can Start Today

Being a victim of circumstance is a habit. Especially in a corporate setting, getting knocked down many times can lead to jadedness. The inevitable outcome is to maintain status quo – it’s just easier that way. Do this enough, the same becomes true for personal goals as well. 

So how then can you be the voice of reason and trigger for change? How can you make sure you get what your want? What can you do when you just feel so overwhelmed? How do you ensure you follow through?

1. Take a Walk

When stuck or faced with a dilemma, try not to panic. Chances are you’re in a cloud of confusion.

So, take a walk. This rests the conscious mind and helps keep emotions in check. Being too into an issue can lead to tunnel vision.

Relaxing the conscious mind also enables the subconscious mind to work it’s magic without you knowing.

2. Define the Problem in Writing 

Once back from the walk, things should be clearer. Now, pen down the problem.

There’s nothing like good old fashioned pen and notepad. The physical form of writing takes away the distractions and clutter of technology.

Also, without clearly defining the problem, there can be no solution.

3. Conceptualise Possible Solutions

Once the problem is clearer, solutions will suddenly start to follow. And here’s where restraint becomes important.

It may be tempting to pounce onto the first solution that comes about, but try not to do this. Make a list of all possible solutions to the identified problem.

For these solutions to be implemented, facts and people will need to be identified.

4. Fact Find and People Source

Write down all the known facts and the ones that need to be researched on. Make a list of it and categorise it if needed. Making a rash decision without gathering facts is foolish. This step is tedious but necessary.

Once the facts have been established, identify the help you need from various people. This, too, should be done in writing.

5. Plan Before Executing

Once the solutions, facts and people required is known – formulate a plan. This plan has to be comprehensive, have clear action items and timelines with reminders in place.

Sometimes, things get stuck on an approver or another party’s input. Avoid being fixated on this. Instead, set a reminder to follow up in a few minutes/hours and focus energies on another task.

Should the matter be of urgency, don’t shy away from using the phone to call or better yet, walk over to that department or person.

6. Escalate to a Superior 

Still stuck? Sometimes a little muscle is needed to push things through.

Ignoring a difficult situation is only delaying the inevitable. Eventually, the issue needs to be addressed. 

So, if following the above steps is still not enough, escalate the matter to a superior and bring them through the solutions conceptualised. Then, highlight exactly what help is needed. 

Managers are busy people and by doing due diligence before reaching out shows initiative and respect for their time.

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