“At its core, entrepreneurship is about solving problems. The greatest opportunities often arise at the toughest times,” according to Dr. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, EY World Entrepreneur 2020, and India’s trailblazing businesswoman.
Encountering problems when doing something is inevitable. Things do not go the way we want them to: systems fail at crucial times, team members make mistakes, projects suffer and so on.
However, while tough times don’t last, tough people do. The secret of their tenacity is having strong and strategic problem-solving methods.
Problem-solving is defined as ‘the process of defining a problem, determining its cause, finding an alternative solution, and implementing it effectively’. Being equipped with innovative methods of problem-solving empowers you to climb the career ladder really fast.
Take the case of a CEO who started to notice that his team is not functioning smoothly. On closer inspection, he found out there was a lack of quality communication between him and his team members, and that several of them were frustrated with the extra workload and consequent stress. Once he had identified the problem, he increased face-to-face and one-to-one communication with his team members, distributed the tasks and ensured the work-life balance of his employees improved. This problem-solving methodology worked wonders.
What Are Problem-Solving Methods?
Problem-solving methods are techniques you can use to tackle problems of various kinds. Sometimes the team is not able to crack a great creative idea, or a client becomes adamant about something, or there is a rivalry between two colleagues. Every confident problem-solver always takes the problem to its most logical and rational solution.
Various Problem-Solving Methods
The essence of leadership is problem-solving. A true leader takes the problem head-on and solves it with a clear vision. Let’s take a look at some of the most result-oriented problem-solving methods you can use in your personal and professional life.
1. Honest Communication
If you do not communicate, you don’t get at the root of the issue. So speak up, genuinely and honestly. Start an open dialogue to reach a sustainable solution. Encourage your team to be frank and straightforward with you.
2. Evaluating Alternatives
It is the most effective problem-solving methodology. Rajeev was appreciated as a successful problem-solver in his company. He was perfect in evaluating various alternative solutions. He evaluated without any bias and always remained in sync with the goal. Like him, it is important to evaluate all prospective solutions before zeroing in on one.
3. Comprehensive Thinking
Before you look out for problem-solving methods for a challenging situation, think from a 360-degree perspective. Expand your horizon and think broadly. Visualization is a successful problem-solving methodology. Be open to others’ viewpoints, expertise and suggestions. Integrating your thoughts with others’ ideas will help in reaching a better solution.
4. Root-Cause Analysis
Great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi always went to the root of every problem and to be able to solve it. ‘The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems,’ he said. The root-cause analysis will help you solve a problem in a wholesome and sustainable way. It will also prevent the problem from recurring.
Whenever there was a mental block or creative stagnation in cracking a campaign, Rajesh’s creative director called the team for a brainstorming session over coffee. The collaborative thinking led to out-of-the-box ideas and worked well for the team.
6. SWOT Analysis
Analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) creates a practical framework for problem-solving. It enables you to benefit from your existing strengths, avoid harmful weaknesses, explore opportunities and identify threats. SWOT is a great problem-solving methodology.
There are numerous other approaches to problem-solving. Your choice of the ideal one will depend on nature, scope and expected result of your issue.
Harappa’s Structuring Problems course will equip you with the correct frameworks that help break down a problem into small parts. You also learn to classify them into groups and to find out the possible causes.
After doing this course, you will have all the essential techniques to identify major reasons that cause various problems. The PICK (Possible, Implement, Challenge and Kill) Framework will guide you to prioritize various parts of your problem.
As a smooth and successful problem-solver, you will be an asset to your organization, thereafter. So, make the right choice at the right time.