Einstein once said: we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created it.
We dare to change the quote a bit and add the following statement: We can solve any problem as long as we focus on finding the optimum solution to any issue while keeping an eye on the business results that we want to achieve. However, Einstein has a valid point and sometimes we have to change the angle we are looking at things from. In most of the cases, specialists from outside our organisation can point out the different angles and things that we can’t no longer see, although we are staring at it.
I am sure we’ve all been there: reviewing a document or an e-mail, making all the necessary changes, all seem perfect and right before clicking the send button, we noticed it. It was there that, in our face, seemed the biggest mistake ever made. A simple error that would have completely changed the meaning of the email but we simply didn’t see it. The thing is that we forgot to check all the angles and this doesn’t happen because we aren’t appropriately skilled, but because focusing on solving problems implies a specific approach, a documented process and combining resources in that optimal way that generates the expected outcome.
What is problem solving in business?
We want to become business problem solvers, which means focusing on finding and implementing the best processes which are programmed to reduce or even eliminate obstacles and issues that are preventing us from achieving our organisational strategic or operational goals.
Understand that problem solving is inspired by an attitude but must have a process
In order to do so, we must understand that problem solving comes from an attitudine which is sustained by a set of skills but also by a learning process which has the purpose to support the development and implementation of an organisational strategy successfully. By successfully, we don’t mean without any problems, but with the right approach and methods to solve the problems that might arise.
Sometimes we focus so much on our tasks that we either tend to ignore the potential issues or delay it temporarily, thinking that finalizing our tasks will fix the problem.
On the other side of the table, there are the people who can’t cope with problems, putting everything on hold or those who believe there are no problems, and thus are not able to complete their tasks or achieve their goals.
Understanding that problem solving is an attitude and we have to be prepared to adapt to all kinds of situations is already an important first step that each one of us should take on our professional paths.
Problems seen as a growth opportunity
We hear so many times the saying: Turn challenges into opportunities. Sounds lovely on paper, but how easy is it for us to get there?
Maybe we shouldn’t focus on how easy or complicated it is to get to this mindset, and we should think about the positive outcome of us having this attitude. Sometimes problems can help us develop processes that will support our growth as an organisation. If all goes well, we slowly become robots repeating the same processes because it all works well. When something goes wrong we have to stop, analyze, identify and rethink the working processes. We have to adjust, to seek solutions and new ways of doing things. All of these situations could open new doors for us, we start learning new things, meeting new people, engaging more resources, developing new tools, reassessing our objectives and establishing bolder goals.
This doesn’t mean that problems are good and we should create room for them. It means that we should see problems in a positive light, and not focus on the problem itself but on what the solution might bring to us. It means that we should look for challenges because they help us evolve. But most importantly, we should have a process in place to face these situations appropriately. This process includes problem solving techniques and a strong mindset oriented to seeking the best solutions.
The right skills, the right attitude
Let’s dive deeper and get to know some of the vital skills which we should develop in order to be efficient when it comes to problem solving.
We should be able to better manage our emotions and listen actively to the people around us whether it’s our peers, supervisors or subordinates. The key to completing the full picture of a situation is to listen and understand all the details. The solution could be right in front of us but assuming we know everything just right after hearing the first 2 words of a sentence, might result in us making a fatal mistake when it comes to identifying and applying the best solution to a problem. So start listening to people around you and work together towards choosing the best approach for you as a team.
We also have to know when to make a decision. It doesn’t have to be the final one or perfect. We can leave room for improvement, failure can always be a teacher. But missing an opportunity due to not being able to decide, could create more damage in the long term.
Last but not least, being resilient is another key element which guarantees a proper problem solving technique. We can’t always apply the best solutions to our problems, but we can definitely learn from each mistake we make. Having a constructive learning approach will allow us to analyze the situation better, leaving room for constructive criticism and the possibility to learn by doing.
We, optimizedit, proud ourselves with being problem solvers and design the best approach to our client’s challenges in order to provide the right solutions to their problems. Problem solving is one of our core values, one of the foundation stones, which help us in delivering successful experiences to our clients.