Advertising
Advertising

Having Excellent Problem Solving Skills Can Make You More Successful, These Are Steps You Should Follow

Having Excellent Problem Solving Skills Can Make You More Successful, These Are Steps You Should Follow

Have you noticed that some of the problems you are experiencing either in interpersonal relationships or work, seem to be recurring?

For example, a person who has had some unpleasant arguments with their co-workers in the past, can expect to go through similar struggles moving forward, no matter if they are in a completely different work environment. And the underlying theme of different arguments is the same – that person has a problem to establish a functional communication with their co-workers.

This is just one example, but many of us tend to repeat the problems and some of us eventually start feeling hopeless, thinking it is just our flawed character and there is nothing we could do about it.

Actually, the reason certain problems keep repeating is because we are not using an efficient problem solving technique. Luckily, we can become better problem solvers and therefore, lessen the number of problems we face.

Your life can be seriously affected if you have poor problem solving ability

Whether we’re happy or successful are largely determined by our problem solving ability. If you just leave problems being unsolved, you may suffer in the following ways:

Advertising

  • There are countless complicated and ambiguous problems in interpersonal interaction. If we’re not efficient problem solvers, we can hardly clear misunderstanding in communication and get close with people around us.
  • Workplace is where we learn how to tackle different kinds of unexpected problems. If we don’t keep looking for new solutions, our work performance will worsen and we will easily feel frustrated when problems pile up.
  • It is common for us to attribute poor mental health to unpleasant personal experience or genetic factors. But the inability to tackle problems in life can harm our mental health. According to a 1983 study, scientists found that people with weaker ability to deal with interpersonal issues are more prone to depression.[1]

So what are the causes of poor problem solving?

Problem solving is just like other skills we need to master in life. To be good at it, we need to practice it with the right approach. Unfortunately, many of us may not realize the common mistakes we make when solving problems. Here are some examples:

Mistaking symptoms for the real causes of problems

Most of us tend to spend a lot of energy to deal with the symptoms of problems without realizing the real causes. To identify the root causes of a problem, we need to challenge the first conclusion that pops up in our mind and keep asking the right questions until we can see beyond the phenomenon of the problem.

Looking for quick fixes instead of the most effective solutions

It is our tendency to look for quick fixes of problems. This leads us to believe in our intuitive without looking into the causal relationship behind the problem. And that’s why we seldom get to the core of problems and adopts the ineffective solutions.

Relying too much on our knowledge

Finally, we become ineffective problem solvers because of our over-reliance on our knowledge. It is a common misconception that the more we know, the more capable we are to tackle problems. But the fact is mere knowledge doesn’t enable us to become effective problem solvers. What we also need is logical thinking skills, the ability to think critically and creativity.

How to be better at problem solving

In order to become better problem solvers, we need to follow these 4 steps whenever we deal with any problem in life:

Advertising

1. Defining the real problem

The first and most important step is to identify the root cause of the problem. One of the most effective approach is 5 whys invented by Sakichi Toyoda in the 1930s.[2] Totaya suggests that by asking “why” for 5 times can help us better identify the core problem.

For example, your problem might be that your business website is not getting enough traffic.

  1. Why is the traffic declining? Content on the website is not engaging to readers.
  2. Why is our content not engaging to readers? Our content doesn’t fit readers’ needs and interests.
  3. Why can’t our content fit readers’ needs and interests? We don’t have much understanding of our readers.
  4. Why don’t we have much understanding of our readers? We haven’t conducted any research in this area.
  5. Why haven’t we conducted any research to understand our readers? We have no resources for research.

The solution – allocating more resources on the research to understand our readers.

Please note that we only apply vertical thinking to delve deep in one possible problem, which is unattractive content in this case. If you think there is another possible reason for declining traffic, you should do another set of 5 whys. By doing this, we can train up our logical thinking skills and so what we see from a problem does not stay at the superficial level.

2. Generating alternatives

After we define the root problem, it is time to find possible solutions. Here’s where we can use the lateral instead of learned, vertical thinking.[3] That means, rather than spending all of our energy and time on transforming one initial idea into a perfect solution, we should rather think of at least ten possible ones and write them down first.

Advertising

By doing so, we won’t draw the conclusion too early or limit our choice to the first few ideas that pop up in our minds, Instead, we postpone our decision making and make use of our creativity to generate potentially better options. Although it takes us more time in this stage, we’re more likely to come up with better solutions later on.

3. Evaluating and selecting alternatives

After generating possible solutions, it is time to select the best one. To make sure we make the right decision, we should list the pros and cons of each option and then compare them on the basis of cost and benefit. In this way, you are more able to make rational choice instead of being deceived by your unreliable biased judgement.

4. Implementing solutions

Although you have gone through 3 stages and take many factors into consideration to pick the best solution, you shouldn’t have the false hope that you solution is going to to be perfect. But it’d be good to implement your solution first and then keep evaluating its effectiveness and make adjustments afterwards. Then you have a clearer direction in mind of how to tackle your problem strategically.

Recommended Reading Materials

By now, you are equipped with the efficient problem solving techniques. But if you want to learn more to further improve your problem solving skills, here are two great books you can read for more insights:

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Advertising

    This book gives a magnificent insight into two types of thinking going on in our brains, and what conditions each. By giving us background to our behavior, the book helps us become better at understanding our programmed ways of dealing with problems so that we can hopefully find a more effective, unbiased ones.

    Problem Solving 101: A Simple Book for Smart People

      It is a practical, illustrated guide that teaches us critical thinking and resourcefulness in problem solving.

      Reference

      More by this author

      Ana Erkic

      Social Media Consultant, Online Marketing Strategist, Copywriter, CEO and Co-Founder of Growato

      Who Says All Introverts Hate Socializing? Here’s The Truth About Introvert And Extrovert Every Time You Drink A Beer, Remember To Drink The Same Amount Of Water You’re Exceptionally Creative If You See The Correct Image (Only 1/100 People Can Do This!) If You Have These 6 Struggles, You’re Highly Intelligent Who Can Resist Avocado! It Is One of the Most Nutrient Fruit In The World!

      Trending in Productivity

      1 How SMART Goal Setting Makes Lasting Changes in Your Life 2 7 Clever Goal Tracker Apps to Make the Most of Your Business in 2019 3 The Surefire Method to Set Long Term Goals and Reach Success 4 17 Smart Tips on Setting Goals to Accomplish More in Life 5 Smart Goals Template to Help Leaders Attain Success Easily

      Read Next

      Advertising
      Advertising
      Advertising

      Last Updated on February 15, 2019

      7 Clever Goal Tracker Apps to Make the Most of Your Business in 2019

      7 Clever Goal Tracker Apps to Make the Most of Your Business in 2019

      There’s nothing more fulfilling than the sense of accomplishment you get by achieving your business goals.

      Gone are the days when you used pen and paper to take notes and manage your work day. As millennials are relying heavily on technology to manage almost everything from finances to their personal fitness, goal tracking apps are also becoming increasingly popular.[1]

      In this piece, we will shed some light on 7 such goal tracking apps that you can use to streamline your operations.

      I have handpicked these apps from a software rating web services site Best Online Reviews. Industry experts review software on these websites and help businesses to find the right solutions to meet their various, unique business requirements.

      1. Aha!

        Aha! is a California-based roadmap software provider and offers excellent goal tracking app that lets you define goals and objectives for projects. The app also lets you list out primary tasks and allows you to focus on them.

        Hosted securely on the cloud, the app offers enhanced communication tools for sharing updates through emails with select colleagues or the entire organization.

        Aha! is available on multiple platforms such as the web, Android, iOS, Windows, etc. and starts from $59 per month per user.

        Available for Web

        Advertising

        2. Asana

          Asana is one of the more popular project management apps available for businesses. It lets you organize all your team’s work, such as setting up and tracking goals, creating tasks, sharing files and notes, etc.

          Asana also allows your team to organize all their tasks and focus on urgent priorities. Moreover, the app offers a delightful user experience that makes task management simple and easy.

          Asana is available on multiple platforms from PCs and Mac to iOS and Android. Multi-channel adaptability makes Asana the perfect choice to track your goals anytime, from anywhere.

          Available for iOS | Android | Web

          3. Basecamp

            Basecamp is an excellent tool to manage all your team’s projects and keep your activities organized. It opens a new thread for every task and that task is visible by the whole team.

            With Basecamp, you can schedule tasks, add to-dos, discuss tasks by adding comments, add files and attachments, and much more.

            The app is available on both mobile and desktop platforms and costs $99 per month. It is available on the web, Android, and iOS platforms and offers excellent multi-channel access.

            Advertising

            Available for iOS | Android | Web

            4. Forecast

              An efficient tool for successful task management, Forecast is also a popular goal tracking app. Apart from effective milestone tracking, the app also offers convenient status reporting.

              Forecast uses project history to let you know the status of your current work. Moreover, it uses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to provide high-quality assistance. It is a robust app for small teams to track goals and time.

              Forecast is available for free and comes with Android and iOS app support. The premium version of the app starts from $19 per month per user.

              Available for Web

              5. Wrike

                Wrike is a cloud-based collaboration and project management app that successfully manages projects from start to finish. It lets you create tasks, track work progress and retrieve reports with ease.

                The app also gives real-time work updates and helps team members to understand their work priorities. A custom report builder helps you to generate in-depth reporting.

                Advertising

                Wrike’s premium version is available from $9.80 per month per user and is available on multiple platforms.

                Available for iOS | Android | Web

                6. Todo.vu

                  Todo.vu is a unique platform that delivers enhanced customer relationship management (CRM), task management, time tracking, and billing functionality in a single app.

                  According to Capterra, it’s an ideal app for freelancers and consultants, who are looking for tools to improve efficiency and transparency.

                  Although the app is free to use with basic features, the premium plan starts from $5 per month per user. The app also comes with calendar sync and task reminder functionality to keep you on track, always.

                  Available for Web

                  7. Flock

                    Looking for a tool to simplify task management? Try out Flock.

                    Advertising

                    Flock comes with enhanced goal tracking and additional features like instant messaging.

                    Moreover, Flock offers tons of integrations with tools such as Google, MailChimp, Jira, Dropbox, etc. It is a powerful tool that’s packed with robust features such as reminders, notes, polls and to-dos.

                    Even though you can use the tool for free, the paid version of Flock is available from $4.50 per month per user.

                    Available for iOS | Android | Web

                    Conclusion

                    Businesses need high-quality project management tools to streamline collaboration and operations. Enhanced goal tracking apps make it easy for your team to improve productivity by keeping its tasks organized.

                    But it’s essential that you choose an app that meets your unique business requirements. You can choose from the above-mentioned apps to streamline operations and improve the productivity of your team.

                    Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

                    Reference

                    Read Next