Problems tend to get bigger if they are not dealt with promptly. The best way to escape from a problem, and stop worrying about it, is to troubleshoot it fast and solve it as soon as possible. It’s so easy to procrastinate and hope the problem will go away.
First examine all aspects of a problem in an effort to find a rapid solution.
Don’t forget problems tend to multiply when you take your eye off your goals. What are you really trying to achieve?
Five of the best tips to solve a problem fast
* Define the real problem?
At the start make sure people fully understand and agree on the nature of the problem.
* List possible causes
Discuss the possible causes in detail. Encourage lateral thinking.
The obvious cause is not necessarily the real cause of the problem. Very often, it is due to personality conflicts between people.
* Generate a list of ideas for possible solutions
Establish criteria for what will be an acceptable solution. Next generate a list of possible solutions by using a ‘brain storming’ or a generating ideas session.
When looking for a solution involve people who know about the situation and include some who do not. Very often ‘outsiders’ see things through different eyes.
* Choose the best recommendation
Discard all impractical solutions. The ones that obviously won’t work.
Discuss all the practical recommendations and their implications.
Decide on the best solution.
* Plan the action to be taken and decide how it will be implemented
People often work better under pressure. Get it solved as quickly as possible. If you tackle the hard problems first usually the easy ones go away.
Appoint competent, experienced people to make the recommended changes. If they have been involved in solving the problem they will be more supportive of the changes needed.
Problems can become opportunities when you bring the right team together.
List, and get an agreement, on who does what by when? Get it solved as soon as possible before you start to worry about it and it starts to grow and get out of hand.
“Many people rush to find solutions before they know what the real problem is.”
Source: “Secrets for New Managers” Moss Associates Ltd, New Zealand and Cengage Learning Asia, Singapore. Also available as hard copy and as an e-book from Cengage Learning, Amazon.com. and the VitalSource Bookshelf.
Many of the articles in this book have been published in “Today’s Manager” the magazine of the Singapore Institute of Management.