Seven Steps For Effective Problem Solving in The Workplace

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What are the 7 steps to problem solving?

This article titled, the Seven steps for effective problem-solving in the workplace provides you with a structured process to enable good outcomes and solutions to problems. People jump to conclusions very quickly and think they have solved a problem but it’s not the right one.

So a structure to problem-solving ensures you can stay on track to solve any problem you face. Practical problem-solving takes time and care to get it consistently right. Put in limited time and attention, then there is more chance of not solving the problem at all.

When a problem arrives, it is essential that you and your team slow down and keep calm. Also, working through this problem-solving process isn’t strictly a linear process, and you may have to go back to a previous step before you get it right. So onto the 7 steps for practical problem-solving in the workplace.

1. Find the Right Problem

It’s common to spend time, and money on a problem that doesn’t need that much attention. Why? Because you’re solving the wrong one. So you need to take time to determine that you are answering the right problem. Have a good understanding of what the problem actually is. Also, members of your team may have different opinions on the issues you are facing.

2. Understand self-interests

Attempting to understand where everyone’s attention is usually omitted from problem-solving and can cause you no end of grief. The needs that you need to satisfy with the final solution. Be careful to do this stage before looking at the solution.  It’s common for people to become attached to one solution and ignore what’s really needed.  So listen to those involved in the problem and with an open mind list each of the isolated vested interests that may come from any potential solutions.

3. Options

Brainstorm and list all the options open to you. Nothing too daft or silly ruled out. Also, to prevent creative burnout and the two parts merging together try and do this listing on a separate occasion to step 2 activities.

4. Evaluate

Now, look at each option impartially and honestly and isolate the strengths and weaknesses of each one. Again don’t do the listing and evaluation at the same time. And use analysis tools to assist you.

5. Selection

Decide what the best options are. Can you collate any of the rejected options to create a better option? If you are having trouble with these options, then move back to back to part 2 and look at people’s motives and yes, (well-meaning or not) agendas. 

6. Write it down 

Write down the options, so you don’t forget them and assist you in thinking through each step and the subsequent implications.

7. Monitoring and contingencies 

We live in the real world, and the problem and the subsequent options may change. Be better prepared to try and work out what could change or go wrong in advance. Then take the steps to ensure you have actions ready to take place within the agreed options and activities should the world change. Monitor the options success and failures and evaluate how things have worked out in a few months.

What are the 7 steps to problem solving?

The Seven steps for effective problem-solving in the workplace provide you with a structured process to enable outcomes and solutions to problems. This process includes finding the right problem, understanding self-interests, listing the options and selecting the solution, and then writing it down to be able to monitor and evaluate it. The more difficult and urgent the problem, the more critical it is to use a disciplined process like this.

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