Employers want to hire solutions-oriented people. Whatever problem comes up in an average day, you need to be able to tackle it head-on. Showcasing your problem-solving skills will help you land your next job and be a better employee. Here are the six steps of problem-solving and the skills necessary for each one.
Identify the Problem
Step one is to dig deep and identify the problem. You can’t know what to fix if you don’t know what is wrong. Assess the situation by determining what should be happening and then what is happening instead. Then look at how deep that problem goes and how much it will affect if it isn’t solved. After you know the scope of the problem, you’ll have a better idea of what you’ll need to do in the next series of steps.
Determine the Source
Next, you’ll need to determine the source of the problem. Sometimes, we focus only on the things the problem causes, like treating symptoms of an illness. But unless you get to the root cause of the problem, it is likely to come up again. Don’t just look at what’s happening; ask yourself why it’s happening until you go back far enough to find the source.
Knowing the problem and its root cause can lead you to the next step of brainstorming solutions. The amount of brainstorming needed will be precisely relative to the size of the problem. Minor problems with easy fixes don’t need a lot of options. But a significant problem can be approached in multiple ways, so it helps to know all the possible resolutions before the next step.
Choose the Best Solution
From your list of brainstorm solutions, you can evaluate each one to determine the best solution for this problem at this time. You need to assess each solution and how viable it is in relation to your available resources. For example, if you could fix a problem by paying a lot of money, that might not be the best option if you have a limited budget. But other solutions you’ve brainstormed could allow for a more accessible fix.
Of course, once you choose a solution, it’s essential to implement it. Sometimes, people discover a problem, brainstorm solutions, figure out what would fix it, and continue on the same path that caused the situation in the first place. Knowing the answer is only part of the process; you have to do the work to get the results.
After implementing the solution and solving the problem, it’s time to evaluate your process and results. For example, you need to understand if the solution may have impacted any other pieces of your process and, if so, how can you correct that action? Make sure you haven’t caused any additional and unexpected problems.
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