One requirement that an employer mostly looks for when hiring is the skill to solve problems. Problem-solving skills help in your quest, not just in your work, but in life as well. Life is full of challenges that we all have to face one way or another. These challenges, be it in life or work, will test you if you can survive on your own when faced with unexpected delays or distractions. Although not everyone is skillful in that area, it is possible to hone this skill.
Here’s a list of tips to help you enhance your problem solving skills:
Identify and Understand the Problem
Identifying and understanding the problem is like trying to find the intent of a question. It is always best to understand the problem to be able to come up with correct solutions because without understanding the problems, the solutions which you may come up with will not be helpful. You may start by asking the “Whys” of a problem in order to dig into the possible root cause and be able to define it.
Research more about the Problem
When faced with a problem at work or in school, it is best to ask important stakeholders about how specific processes related to the problem works. This will help you adjust and adapt solutions that you might think of to the kind of environment you are in. Inputs of the people who are also, if not, more familiar with the processes and situation will also help you think of a more fitting solution for your problem.
Visualize the problem by drawing mind maps
Have a more visual look of the situation. Problem solving can be mind-boggling so it is always best to have a hold of the situation which can be done using visualization through mind maps. A mind map is a diagram used to organize information – may it be hierarchical or simply relational. Your mind map should include the central idea which is the problem itself, and the reasons for its occurrence (refer to number 1). You may add sub-branches with the solutions to help you analyze and pick out the best one.
List down all the possible and creative solutions
According to hays.com, “Good problem solvers draw on their critical thinking skills and understand that there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ solutions at this point.” When trying to solve a problem, try to list down all possible solutions no matter how ridiculous they can get. Brainstorming bad ideas removes the pressure one gets from having to conceive only the good ones and allows us to push past the obvious answers. Sometimes, bad ideas can be turned into unique and brilliant ones. Another tip is to not focus on how the company has traditionally approached problems, problem solving requires new thinking and new solutions.
Have the Will to Learn
Do not be afraid to learn new things. This may lead us to the solutions we’re hoping for. A good example of learning is by mimicking others. Study a different situation and try to see if the process on how a situation is resolved is applicable to your given problem just like a scientific formula.
Do Puzzles and Brainteasers to Workout your Brain
Exercise your brain by doing games and puzzles that involve logic such as Chess and Sudoku. This will help you sharpen your problem solving skills by helping you learn strategies and techniques which you can use in real life situations.
Choosing the Best Solution
To identify the best solution that may help with your problem, narrow down your list of options by grouping common ideas. Choose the best solution that will fit the kind of situation, organization, and environment you’re in. Weigh in potential risks and advantages. You may also present your final ideas and options to your stakeholders and colleagues to gather feedback and more ideas about your problem and your offered solution.
Despite the surge of problems that you may encounter in your workplace or in life in general, it is important to have a positive mindset that you can always come up with the best and fitting solutions.
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