Problem Solving Skills For Managers
Problem Solving Skills are normally seen as reactive tools, meaning they are applied to problems which are existing and have been identified. The two main crucial steps missing from any problem solving processes is finding the right problems and defining problems as opportunities. Finding the right problem to solve is the most valuable skill and is considered the main and first step to the seven step problem solving process.
1. Identifying The Problem
Before looking for a solution we must be sure that the problem actually does exist. The approach is very crucial. Problem should not be allowed to intimidate you. Problem must be approached rationally and remind yourself that if tackled appropriately, every problem is solvable.
2. Roadblocks To Problem Solving
It is very important to understand the nature and status of a problem as most of the times we ourselves serve as our own roadblocks in solving problems. To effectively be able to solve a problem, we must assess the road-blocks; old habits, perceptions, fears, assumptions, rash decisions etc.
3. How To Find Solutions
One may use a number of methods to find solutions. There are four innovation and unconventional methods that allow you to see the possibility of arriving at a novel solution. There is another method which is more typical and straightforward.
4. Sorting Out The Best Solution
After listing out all the available solutions and penning them down, cross out those, which obviously will not work. Break down the remaining ideas by detailing their positive and negative effects. This can be done by writing each solution on a separate paper. Do the same for all available options. Then separate the one with the maximum advantages and the least disadvantages. You will find your solution.
5. The Plan of Action
Getting the solution will not mean that the problem has been solved. We have just got a Goal and we need to plan our approach route to achieve that target. Design a phase-wise plan of action chart, including all details that could affect the actual outcome,; for eg., in shipping, a delay by a supplier starts a chain of reaction of delays. We must therefore have provisions to counter that.
6. Evaluating The Plan of Action
Much before implementing we must evaluate the entire Action Plan and look for as many variables as possible so that these can be covered. It may be staff requirement, realistic time frame for feasibility, fixed responsibilities, cost effectiveness of the Plan of Action- all of which are very important.
7. Obstacles You May Encounter
At the start or during the implementation there are a number of obstacles one can encounter. It is necessary that ways are devised to overcome them. We must try not to allow these Obstacles to prevent us from reaching our goals and must be able to solve the problems faced.
8. Simulating The Solution / Plan of Action
A trial run by implementing the Solution on a small scale must be done by engaging some managers and staff to roll plays the solution in the work setting. This helps in understanding the actual impact of the solution when applied on a fuller scale. By observing the reactions, understanding, effectiveness of the tools being used and resistance to change can be recorded and corrected before implementation.
We must ensure that for the successful implementation of the plan of action all details are taken care of and a review of the plan has been done. The equipment / material required must be arranged for in advance. The evaluation of the results of each phase is a must so that the necessary adjustments can be made.
10. Evaluating The Success of Implementation
After completion of each phase, we must observe whether the Goals or desired results have been achieved, if yes, we need to see the standards achieved and evaluate the entire process. You must get maximum feedback from all who participated and or were affected by the new or corrective plan. It is quite possible that what you feel has worked out well may not be so in the eyes of others who have been affected.
Managers who can effectively solve problems arising on a daily basis at work are much in demand. Companies seek managers who can introduce positive changes without upsetting the flow and routine of work, for the good of the business.