8 Creative Problem Solving Tips to Conquer Your Difficulties
Problems abound all around us:
- Screaming customers
- Misplaced inventory
- Budget cuts
- System malfunctions and many, many more
Those of us in management understand that to thrive, even to survive, we need solid, powerful problem-solving skills. Here are eight problem-solving tips to help you conquer any difficulty.
Creative Problem Solving Tips
Challenge conventional wisdom. Look for a fresh approach, a new angle or a unique perspective. Do not settle for the way it has always been done. If the traditional solution was really good, the problem should have gone away.
Ask an outsider. The second problem-solving tip is to get someone who is not intimately involved to offer his or her input. Ask a friend in another department, location or even a customer to help you clearly define and assess the problem.
Look for the unexpected. Force yourself to look beyond the average, the expected and the typical. Inject creativity into your solution process.
Two or more heads are better than one. Even when you are an expert in the problem area, it can be very helpful to involve others in the process.
Follow your intuition. Intuition is perfectly acceptable in problem solving given you: (1) clearly understand the problem and the potential cause, (2) have been in a similar situation before and (3) possess data, information and research that support your intuitive solution. If the above three criteria are met, then go with your intuition.
Take a break. When stuck, get away from the problem, take a walk, forget about it and come back later. A fresh mind is always preferable to a tired, frustrated mind.
No decision is a decision. Another great problem-solving tip: Sometimes the best solution is to do nothing. As managers, we are prone to want to do something, to take action. Realize that no action is sometimes the right thing to do.
Attack the problem, but never the people. It’s the problem that needs fixing, not the people. Indeed your team may need new skills, knowledge or information to effectively implement your solution. But always remember that as a manager, you must attack the problem and not your people.