While this may be an old adage, and mere words you might say, they are powerful and true. People who run toward problems, not away from them, who deal with them swiftly instead of ignoring and procrastinating, have incredible advantages in business. One advantage is longer customer retention rates, since the customer feels cared for. Another is higher profit margins, since your customer service is so high.
So, how do you improve your problem solving skills. I’ll give you a good start in three simple, but challenging steps.
- Identify the problem and the root cause of it. Think of a tree here. The source of strength is in the roots, not the trunk or leaves. An example, the problem may be lack of sleep, but the root cause is stress. The secret is to peel the onion back another layer or two to determine what is causing the stress. Could it be lack of financial resources in a tight economy?
- Attempt to identify multiple solutions to the problem, without constraints. Brainstorming with a spouse, parent, sibling, child or friend who is not emotionally attached to the outcome is critical here. Many times kids see life simply and therefore their minds are not cluttered with killer word “can’t”, so do not overlook them when it comes to difficult issues. Be creative here!
- Create a plan and Prioritize the actions you identify in the plan.
Some like to write lists that contain the pros and cons related to the process. Others use white boards to collect the deluge of ideas that come from a “no dumb idea” brainstorming session. Still others will seek out expert advice before committing to a plan. Whatever process works for you should be considered.
The key is to do something that moves you toward a solution, rather than nothing that can make the situation worse with time. One thing to avoid…don’t keep digging a deeper hole. While some may say put down the shovel, I say use the shovel wisely. Making hand and foot holds in the side of the hole will create an opportunity to escape, which is the desired outcome in the end.