Advertising
Advertising

Why Solving Problems Takes a Team

Why Solving Problems Takes a Team

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

More by this author

How To Communicate With Irrational And Angry People Save Money: Upgrade Yourself Measure Twice, Cut Once: The Importance of Project Planning Change…The Only Constant Review – Lose It

Trending in Work

1 What Are Analytical Skills (And How to Strengthen Them For Success) 2 11 Tips on How to Resolve (Almost) Any Conflict in the Workplace 3 Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Overcome It) 4 How to Run an Effective Meeting: 10 Simple Ways 5 10 Habits Of People Who Are Highly Successful At Work

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on May 20, 2020

What Are Analytical Skills (And How to Strengthen Them For Success)

What Are Analytical Skills (And How to Strengthen Them For Success)

Everybody makes bad decisions. Some people, however, are more capable of making better decisions that inch them closer to success.

These individuals are not ruled by emotions, desires, or hunches. Rather, they depend on their analytical skills to overcome challenges regardless of urgency or complexity.

What Are Analytical Skills?

According to Richards J. Heuer Jr., a former veteran of the CIA,[1]

“Thinking analytically is a skill like carpentry or driving a car. It can be taught, it can be learned, and it can improve with practice. But unlike other skills, it is not learned by sitting in a classroom and being told how to do it. Analysts learn by doing.”

Analytical skills can be considered as one of the critical life skills that are not taught in schools. It comprises of visualization, critical thinking, and abilities for gathering and processing information.

Here’s a closer look at some of these abilities:

Visualization

Also tied to a person’s creativity, visualization is the ability to predict the possible outcomes of strategies and actions. In a professional setting, visualization involves the analysis of data – often through illustrations like charts, graphs, and detailed lists.

Critical Thinking

Simply put, a person’s ability to think critically can be measured by his or her consistency in creating reasonable decisions. It pertains to the ability to evaluate information, siphon what’s useful, and draw conclusions without being swayed by emotions.

Advertising

As a critical thinker, you’ll find yourself challenging assertions and finding loopholes in proposed solutions.

Computing

Whether you like it or not, you need to be comfortable with numbers if you want to sharpen your analytical skills. Bear in mind that computing encompasses other skills like cost analysis, budgeting, and performing general calculations.

In business, you need to use computations when weighing the risks and benefits of any given strategy.

Problem-Solving

Remember that analytical skills are used not just to understand problems, but also to develop the most suitable course or courses of action. This relates to your goal-setting skills, which involve breaking down and prioritizing between objectives.

Resource Management

Lastly, analytical skills involve some degree of resource management depending on the task at hand.

For example, professionals with a tight schedule must know how to effectively manage their own time – also known as one of the most important resources in the world.

Business leaders, on the other hand, must know how to manage company resources, including cash and manpower. Take note that the definition of analytical skills may change to match the requirements of a specific situation.

For example, upon hiring a web developer, analytical skills may refer to the ability to determine the needs of online users, understand web analytics for optimization, and identify visual elements that can match a company’s brand.

Advertising

The skillset above, however, should be applicable in most if not all scenarios.

Develop Your Analytical Skills for More Growth Opportunities

There’s no question that the right decisions lead to positive results. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a business or simply trying to climb the corporate ladder. By training your analytical skills, you position yourself for more growth opportunities while staying away from negligible actions you will regret.

For example, you plan to launch a new startup in your local community – but struggle to decide the niche you want to enter. Since you’ve been a technophile your whole life, part of you desires to invest in a gadget store. If you’re passionate about your business, success will come – right?

If you have sharp analytical skills, you begin to see your plans in whole new dimensions.

What are the possible outcomes of this venture? Does the local market have a need for a new gadget store? How much do I need to get started – and how much should I sell to make a profit?

Depending on your findings, you can determine the feasibility of your business idea without letting your emotions get in the way.

6 Ways to Strengthen Your Analytical Skills

There are several approaches when it comes to developing an individual’s analytical skills. For instance, psychologists agree that reading fantasy stories as a child can help sharpen critical thinking.[2]

Research also suggests that undergoing traditional education has a positive effect on a person’s IQ and analytical skills.[3]

Advertising

But as an adult, such opportunities to hone your analytical skills no longer apply. That’s why you need to devise a more deliberate, active approach yourself.

Below are a few strategies to get you started:

1. Ideate Business Ideas

Developing a profitable business idea, whether you pursue them or not, involves numerous challenges. You need a ton of research, computations, and problem-solving to create a tangible business plan.

You can organize your ideas with a note-taking tool like Microsoft OneNote or Evernote. Doing so will allow you to delve deeper into your analysis, organize your findings, and stay focused on roadblocks as well as how to solve them.

2. Leverage Analytical Tools

Aside from note-taking tools, you can also leverage other software that can help with analytical tasks. A money management app like Mint, for example, makes it easy to track your spending habits as well as manage your budget with visual tools. When it comes to prioritizing goals, you can use simple task management apps like Trello or Wunderlist.

3. Have a Personal Learning Library

Thanks to the internet, there’s a colossal amount of resources you can utilize to learn new skills, expand your vocabulary, and train your visualization muscles.

Social media networks like SlideShare and YouTube, for example, offer mountains of tutorials you can access to your heart’s content.

For a personalized learning library, you can download Instagram videos or GIFs from educational accounts like NASA Goddard and the American Mathematical Society. But if you prefer specific, technical skills, then a good place to start would be online learning platforms like Coursera, edX, and Alison.

Advertising

4. Participate in Online Communities

The internet is a great place to share experiences, opinions, and sometimes intellectual discussions with like-minded individuals. Reddit, for example, has a place or “subreddit” dedicated for every topic imaginable – from technology to entrepreneurship.

For structured debates, you can head to websites like Debate.org and let other users choose the winner via votes.

5. Seek Mental Stimulation

To keep your mind sharp, make it a habit to engage in mentally stimulating activities, such as chess, puzzles, and brain training apps. A great resource would be Lumosity, which contains dozens of cognitive games designed by teams of scientists and game designers.

6. Keep a Personal Journal

Finally, keeping a personal journal allows you to take a second look at everything that happened in your day.

Remember that writing about learning experiences lets you focus on the lesson rather than the emotion. It will help you analyze how you made your decisions, why you came to certain conclusions, and what you can do to improve in the future.

Here’s How to Create a Habit of Writing in a Journal.

Bottom Line

As an adult, you are required to face a myriad of challenges on a daily basis. Work, school, business, relationships – the list goes on when it comes to the sources of life’s problems. With analytical skills, you can confront and overcome any obstacle standing between you and your goals.

More Success Skillset

Featured photo credit: Campaign Creators via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] M. S. Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences: Analytical Thinking?
[2] KD Novelties: Why You Should Read Classic Tales to Your Children
[3] Economic Inquiry: The Effect of Education on Cognitive Ability

Read Next