Problem Solved: Seven Steps

This week’s FocalPoint Business Coaching challenge is a continuation of FocalPoint Business Coach Mike Alpert’s response to:

When problems come up whether in business or in life, strategies have to be put in place to solve them. But problem solving itself needs to have a strategy – some standard approach that immediately disseminates the problem into a situation – and that situation, by being acted on is no longer a problem, it’s simply a process.

Brian Tracy in Way to Wealth gives a seven step process for problem solving:

  1. Approach he problem with confidence. Assume it will be solved – don’t let it overwhelm you.
  2. Clarify what the problem is. Define what is going wrong. You can fix it if you don’t know what’s broken. One technique you can use here is Appreciation. State the problem:  “The cat keeps eating the fish.” And then ask, “So?” “So there aren’t any fish in the tank.” “So?” “So there aren’t any fish to look at.” “So?” “So people need something to look at.” Now we’re getting clear on the problem. Maybe we need to buy a television.
  3. Change your language. Like I said in the beginning, this can’t be a problem, it is simply a situation, an opportunity to re-examine a process.
  4. Figure out what makes the situation happen. What is the cause? Why does it happen? This might entail a real careful analysis of processes that the situation occurs in.
  5. List all the possible solutions. If you have clearly defined the causes, you will be able to see the solutions pretty clearly too. Be open minded and let some creativity come into play. Brainstorm. Everyone who is affected by the situation should be given an opportunity to speak to the solutions.
  6. Pick a solution. Be the leader and pick a solution. Don’t be too concerned about it being the right one – any action is better than no action.
  7. Put the solution into action. Make someone responsible for putting the solution into place (yourself?). Set a timeline and a way to measure the effectiveness of the action.

Quick action on a problem is the best solution but be clear on what the problem is and what the solution is or you won’t be solving problems, you’ll be creating them.

A FocalPoint Business Performance Coach can help you bring on board other techniques like the one in step two, that can help you through each step in the problem solving process – making your solutions effective and proactive.


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