Problem solving is an every-day skill

You use problems solving skills every-day at work and in life – although it may be something you do instinctively rather than being conscious of it. Perhaps you’re looking for problem solving tips that can help you solve problems more effectively – which could mean you develop better solutions, or you discover solutions more easily.

Stuff happens … things go wrong that have to be fixed. Some problems you face are relatively small – you may have missed your train to work, or your car has a flat tyre, or the printer doesn’t seem to be working properly, or maybe it looks like you might miss a deadline on a task. But sometimes you may face more serious problems..

Problem solving is done regularly. However, let’s not forget that good forward planning and some proactive thinking can help to prevent many problems in the first place.

Be positive

You use your problem solving skills to address issues that seem to be preventing you from achieving your goals. When you adopt a positive approach, and view the situation as a challenge that you are confident you can handle, then finding a solution will become an easier process. Avoiding the problem, just complaining about the problem, or refusing to acknowledge there is a problem – this will not help move a situation forward. Without a positive attitude, you may just give up and say there’s nothing you can do!

However, not every problem that you encounter in life is necessarily your responsibility to fix. You may simply be experiencing the effects of someone else’s problem – sometimes it can be a judgement call to recognise “Whose problem is this?”

Problem solving tips

Whether the problem is of a business or personal nature, here are four problem solving tips of a general nature to keep in mind ….

 Problem-solving tip # 1 : Be flexible

Sometimes, you may need to be willing to try new things in order to deal with the situation. So keep an open mind – and be willing to look at a situation from different angles.


Problem-solving tip # 2 : Take time to think

Avoid rushing in too quickly or impulsively in a desire to fix the situation. A rash decision may worsen the situation – and not all problems necessarily need be addressed immediately, unless you really are in a crisis

Problem-solving tip # 3 :  Ask questions

To properly understand what you’re facing, you will need to gather information. Talk to people that may be involved; investigate and attempt to establish what may have caused the problem before deciding to do anything. If the problem is a new one for example, what has changed around the situation that may have served to create or contribute to the problem?

A short term solution might help to contain the problem and its effects – however, for a long term solution you will need to address the root cause.

If you would like to learn more about “root cause analysis” , which is a useful problem solving method used in many businesses, click on Problem solving techniques

Problem-solving tip # 4 : Look at the problem in a different way

If you have to tackle a long-standing problem, and therefore likely an issue with no simple solution, there is no point doing what you’ve done before. For a long-standing problem, the traditional approach hasn’t worked. So it’s probably time for a fresh set of eyes and a new way of thinking about the situation. It may be time to discuss the issue with someone else, who might help you to recognise you’ve made some assumptions about the situation that need to be challenged.

The following video clip suggests a clear and effective method to guide your approach to problem solving ….

For self-improvement resources, see Personal Development