Aristotle, the great Greek philosopher, in his treatise on man and philosophy, called humans Zoon Logikon. Animals that are able to make and solve different problems and have the power of logic. But why?
The emotional relief from watching a tragic drama that is unconsciously created in us, from solving a small mystery to solving the problem of overcoming the force of gravity and traveling into space are all issues that we have encountered on different levels throughout history and for We have found that solution. Basically, our brain, we the first humans, evolved in order to solve the mystery.
Problem solving skills to solve various problems, from small and big problems in personal life to macro problems at management levels, will play a very colorful role in optimizing time and also your success in facing various problems.
Problem solving skills and creative thinking are considered as one of the indispensable skills for managers. According to LinkedIn reports, on average, managers spend more than 50% of their time solving problems, and they do this alone or with the help of others.
Your ability to deal with problems and solve problems more than anything else determines everything that happens to you in your work and career. In fact, it is safe to say that someone with poor problem-solving skills is forced to work for others who have better creative skills.
The good news is that problem solving is a skill, although some may have cultivated it since childhood due to family and social upbringing, but you can easily overcome various problems by simply learning some techniques and mental shortcuts.
Problem solving is like riding a bike or working with a computer and it is acquired through training and practice. In addition, there is a direct relationship between the amount of problems, creative ideas and your success, and in many cases this issue ends up with your profitability, income and future and your relationships.
Jan Yabertson: “When you know your current state and know what your desired state and goal is; but you don’t know what path you can take to get from the current situation to the desired situation, you are facing a problem.”
Table of Contents
Problem solving cycle (1+6 important steps in problem solving)
“Give me a problem and I’ll solve it for you” spirit that most entrepreneurs enjoy. That’s great in theory, but how do you know you’re working on the right problem? Have you understood the problem correctly? Have you examined the issue from different angles? Are you sure you have found the best possible solution?
In the following, I am going to introduce to you the 1+6 main steps that you should follow in solving the problem. I assure you that by carefully reading this section and following all the steps in order, you will be able to find the best answer to the problem you are facing in the least amount of time and the ideas that will have the most effect. Select.
First step: define the problem clearly for yourself
What does this sentence mean? I mean, try to look at it from different angles after facing a problem, ask the opinion of others and most importantly, seek to find the causes?
Maybe your problem is the result of several different causes or even affected by several different variables. It is entirely up to you to determine which of the factors affects your problem the most.
It has definitely happened to all of us to treat a disease without fully knowing its cause. In fact, it is highly unlikely that the treatment has gone through a complete process. Because without expertise, we may only fix the apparent causes and not the root problems, a method that can definitely lead a business to bankruptcy at the micro and macro management levels.
Second step: break down the problem into smaller parts
Perhaps in everyday matters, this section does not need to be explained and expanded, so I would like to draw your attention to a specialized and, of course, management issue:
In an average company, profit issues may be divided into revenue and cost allocation. On the other hand, the income can be divided into the price and volume of your sales. On the other hand, you have various issues related to fixed, variable and semi-variable costs. Now, when you identify all the possible problems, their subsections, causes and effects, the probability of finding the real problem increases.
On the other hand, this regular mental and executive structure will make your work much easier in the next steps.
Step 3: Start hypothesizing
Once you know the problem well and have broken it down into smaller subsections, it’s time to start hypothesizing.
Be sure to use brainstorming sessions to generate hypotheses and hear others’ opinions about a specific issue. Then prioritize, analyze and evaluate the assumptions. Following the previous example, for example, you may face a volume problem in the revenue department, the assumptions that may be formed around this problem can be entering new markets, loading a new product, expanding or reducing distribution channels, etc.
These four initial hypotheses of yours can be part of your problem solving path and be completed in this step.
Some practical techniques for hypothesizing
One of the most effective techniques that will help you in meetings is connecting different topics together.
But what do I mean by connecting?
Relating means finding the similarities, differences and adjacencies of the problem with solutions and other problems.
To do this, you should keep the main problem in the center and list the others according to the three characteristics mentioned below. By doing this, you will be able to manage your meetings well and increase their productivity in addition to measuring and examining all the obvious and hidden angles of the problem.
Intuitive thinking method, which some consider as an irrational method, is one of the fastest and most powerful methods that prominent and elite managers use to evaluate and solve various problems. Everything you’ve learned as a manager over the course of your career can lead you to believe that you’ll find a good solution to a problem you’ve never faced before.
Tip: Many people use intuition as a way to escape problem analysis, which is completely wrong. You only have the right to use intuition if you have worked in the same position for several years and have dealt with various challenges.
Fourth step: Classification of the best solutions
Now it’s time to refer to your list of solutions and remove the items that you think are not efficient from the list, by doing this you will be able to prevent these items from affecting the rest of the solutions.
In the next step, write down the selected solutions in order and mention all their positive and negative points below. One way to help you better think about the pros and cons of a solution is to outline each solution. Call a few of your employees and play out the solutions with them and get their reactions. Based on what you see and the feedback you get from them, you’ll get a better idea of the pros and cons of the solutions you’re considering.
After you’ve gone through this process for all the solutions, choose the ones that have the most benefits. At this stage, you only have to choose two or three solutions. To choose the most suitable solution, weigh them according to your business priorities, time, budget, availability of human resources and side effects and choose the best one for the implementation process.
Additional step: determining the key performance indicator or KPI
Key Performance Indicators or KP are a set of metrics or criteria agreed upon so that we can define and evaluate critical success factors. The results of these measurements can be analyzed and compared and analyzed to identify trends over the life of a contract or evaluated at specific points in time.
As a manager or a member of the ideation and implementation team, you should determine key performance indicators for your chosen solution so that you can fully check it after the program is implemented and use its information effectively.
Step five: Implementation of the final solution
Have you done more than 50% of the work so far? Why 50%? Because until your solution is implemented and its results are analyzed and evaluated, it is as if you have never done anything.
The implementation of the solution is as important as the process of finding it because many problem solving methods despite good theory may fail due to poor implementation.
In order to implement the program as best as possible, I recommend you to draw a flowchart for your implementation plan and write the implementation steps, escape methods, and second and third plans in it. In this way, you and your team members will be able to fully monitor the execution steps and have the next steps before your eyes.
Tip: try to be very flexible in the execution schedule. No matter where you are in the world, there are always too many unrelated variables lurking to disrupt your program!
Sixth step: fundamental evaluation and analysis
After the implementation of the program, ask yourself whether the kpis or key performance indicators that we addressed as an additional step have been achieved. If you don’t have a proper analysis and evaluation of your performance, you won’t be able to measure the correctness of your proposed method, and worse. This problem may happen to you again in a different way.