I struggle quite often with how to solve certain problems. Problem solving for me is not easy, I tend to run around in my head and generally spend way too much time trying to solve even the simplest of problems. Knowing that problem solving was taking up way too much time, I decided to implement a new problem solving strategy for myself – Seven simple problem solving steps, easy to do and clearly defined. It actually works. Using my seven steps, I can dispense with problems and get them out of the way much more quickly than before. It makes me happy. I have found that one of the keys to effective problem solving is, like so many other things, writing it down. I keep a little form on hand to scribble on whenever I have a problem and it works.
Seven Problem Solving Steps
1. Identify and Define the Problem
2. Analyze the Problem
3. Identify Possible Solutions
4. Evaluate and Select the Best Solutions
5. Develop an Action Plan
6. Take Action and Implement a Solution
7. Evaluate Your Success
Step 1 – Identify and Define the Problem Before you can start to solve a problem you need to identify and define it. Exactly what is the problem? Be specific. If the problem is not having enough money, be specific about how much money you need and what you need it for. It is often helpful to talk to others to get a clear focus on what the problem is.
Step 2- Analyze the Problem Once you have defined the problem, think about it from different angles. How is the problem affecting you? How is affecting others? What do other people with the same problem do about it?
Step 3- Identify Possible Solutions You know you have a problem and you want to resolve it. Now start to consider possible solutions. What exactly do you want to achieve? How are you going to achieve it? What are possible ways to solve the problem or rectify the situation? If you need more money, can you get another job, sell something, borrow money, get a raise? Put together as long a list of possible solutions as you can. Brainstorm a bit and even if it is a silly idea, write it down. Others may also have ideas to offer you.
Step 4- Select and Evaluate the Best Solutions Now look at your list of solutions and decide which solutions are most viable and realistic. Determine what the outcome will be for the solutions you have selected. What solution is most likely to have the best results?
Step 5 – Develop an Action Plan Once you have determined what the best solution(s) are, you need to create an action plan. How and when are you going to implement the solution? Be specific, set out your goals and objectives along with a timeline and write down the steps you need to take to achieve your goals.
Step 6 – Implement your Solution Use your action plan to implement your solution.
Step 7 – Evaluate your Success Did you solve your problem by following your action plan? How effective was the solution? How did it affect your situation? Did you achieve what you wanted? If the solution was successful in helping you solve your problem and reach your goal, then you know that you have effectively solved your problem. If you feel dissatisfied with the result, then you can begin the steps again.
Problem solving is never all that easy, we get too caught up in our own heads. But using these steps is an effective method for getting to the crux of the matter and solving the problems you are facing.