Picture Courtesy of Shutterstock

Picture Courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Before you start getting excited to begin solving a problem, there is a handy little technique I learnt that will help you decipher whether or not you need to problem solve your current predicament and it’s called the worry chart. Use these questions whenever you believe you have a problem and it will reveal whether you need to stop worrying about it and let it go or begin problem solving.

 

WORRY CHART

 

Is it happening now?

Yes – go to next question

No – let it go

Is it resolvable?

Yes – go to next question

No – let it go

 

Can I resolve it?

Yes – begin problem solving

No – go to next question

 

Can anyone else resolve it?

Yes – begin problem solving by planning how to approach them and ask for their help

(TIP: have a clear idea of the outcome you desire once the problem is resolved)

No – let it go

 

Now you are aware of when it is appropriate to problem solve and which situations you can problem solve for, here is a summary of the six key stages to masterful problem solving:

 

  1. Identify and clearly define the problem.
  2. Brainstorm Solutions – nothing is ridiculous at this stage!
  3. Rule out inappropriate solutions. Assess and write down the pro’s and con’s of each solution and choose one, or a combination of approaches, to carry out.
  4. Plan the steps to carry out the solution and have a plan B.
  5. Take action as planned in step 4.
  6. Review what went well and what didn’t and learn from the experience. If the problem persists, take action towards another one of your solutions.

 

Sounds straight forward I know, but in each step there are several things to consider which may not appear obvious at first.

 

Step One – Identify and Clearly Define the Problem

 

For example, what is the cause of the problem? Who or what is involved in the problem? Broken down as simply as possible, what is the problem? Is this a problem for you specifically or could it also be seen as a problem for others? These questions will not only define the problem more fully but also identify whether you will need others to agree on your workable solution.

 

Stay tuned – next week we will look at brainstorming and weighing up the pros and cons.

 

Have you asked yourself these questions when defining your problems in the past? How do you think clearly defining the problem would help you in problem solving in future? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, support and insight from our community, we’d love to hear from you.

 

Exercises:

 

  1. Refer to last weeks list of problems and choose the problem you would most like to work on.
  2. Ask yourself the questions listed above and clearly define the problem.