While watching a Criminal Minds marathon this weekend I thought about how that team works together to solve crimes. They have the benefit of being television characters and not real people but the lessons apply to all teams. Here’s the reason why solving problems takes a team.

Keep calm in the face of stress

This is something particularly important to working in technical support and customer service, two sides of the same coin. I never know what is going to be thrown at me from day-to-day.

It could be an irate customer or a broken computer during a deadline or any number of crazy situations that could crop up at a moment’s notice.

Keeping calm makes the crisis more manageable. A clear head will lead to a positive solution more efficiently than getting wrapped up in emotion and drama of a situation.

Use your team

I have a good list of resources and have honed my troubleshooting, question-asking and searching skills but there are limits to my abilities.

This is a lesson I struggle with but I have learned to reach out to me team for help.

Each team member has their own strengths and weaknesses. We each perform a role and our combined knowledge is greater than any one of us separately.

Relentlessly focus and refine

Problems take all shapes and sizes. Sometimes you need a fresh pair of eyes or a good night’s sleep to solve it.

Relentlessly attacking the problem isn’t always the best way to go. Use your team and your best judgment and you’ll get there. The obvious solution isn’t always the right one. Nor is the first solution you may come across.

Take the parts that work and refine them. Ask yourself, how you could make this better? How could it work for more people? Is this the best solution or is there something missing?

Celebrate the wins and forget the losses

Every day, there will be failures big and small. Don’t dwell on the failures but see what you can learn from them. Sometimes the answer to one problem is hidden in the work for another.

With failure comes success. Celebrate them. Pat yourself on the back. Thank your team. Have the proverbial drink together. But don’t dwell on them.

Just as quickly as you solve a problem, there will be more to take its place. Celebrate your wins. Learn from your failures.

All of this will help you get better at problem solving and strengthen your team.

Featured photo credit:  Close up of a men’s quadruple skulls rowing team via Shutterstock

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