5 Steps to Problem Solving

1031820_conference_2 In order to have continual quality control on how your business is doing you need to be willing to look for and define problems that may be hindering growth, production and efficiencies.  Usually problems have way of presenting themselves without you looking too hard for them as something will begin to go wrong, but when it does what is the best way to resolve it.  There are five essential steps to problem solving the first being (1) defining the problem.  If you have a team that you work with it is better to have input from all of them.  Start by asking questions that will help define the problem; What is the problem, what causes the problem, how does it happen, when does it happen, and where does it happen, also possibly who does it happen to or who causes it to happen.  Once you have written down the answers to these questions as they apply and you have defined what the real problem is, then move on to step (2) identifying approaches to resolve it.  Brainstorming is one of the best ways to get multiple ideas to choose from and when everyone on the team is a part of searching for the answer they are buying into what will work and will put more effort into resolving the problem.  Write down all of the possibilities making sure that they cover all of the "what, why, where, who" issues.  The next step (3) is to pick the best approach to resolving the problem that you have come up with from your list.  It is always best if the team as a whole is in agreement to which approach to try first.  The next step (4) would be to come up with your action plan, writing out the steps you are going to take to implement your approach to resolving the problem.  Make sure that you have listed all of the details so that everyone clearly knows what needs to be done and then review it together and begin to put your plan into action.  Finally step (5) is to set up a certain length of time that you are going to try the approach that you picked, say a week or two and then sit down together to revisit and review how things are going and were you successful in solving the problem as you had hoped.  During this meeting you may decide you need to "tweak" what you were doing a little or completely throw that approach out and try another one on your list.  Whichever it may be you are still headed in the right direction for solving problems in a productive and pro-teamwork way.  One of the key steps in this approach is making sure that you have thought through all of the problems solving steps clearly and understand how to implement them.  Below is a link to a cute story about a team that did not think through all of the steps clearly enough and created a bigger problem.

http://storiesfortrainers.com/chickentests.aspx

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