Thinking & Problem Solving Skills

Thinking & Problem Solving Skills

Today's dynamic business world demands that you make decisions that significantly boost productivity and drive competitive advantage. But how do you know whether a decision will benefit the organization? And how do you know that the decisions are based on rational and statistical reasoning?  Explore how to become a dynamic problem solver with the skills to make accurate decisions.

Definitions of Problem Solving

Problem-solving is a set of activities designed to analyze a situation systematically and generate, implement, and evaluate solutions.

Problem Solving is the seeking of solutions to problems that arise in an organization.

A problem is an intricate unsettled question: a source of perplexity, distress, or vexation. The problem-solving process leads to the formulation of decisions intended to resolve the recognized problems.

The problem refers to the existence of a gap between where a person is and where one would like to be. The thought process involved in a person's effort to remove obstacles in the way to achieve the goal state is called problem-solving.

Problem-solving begins with a certain original state called the initial state of a problem. Problem-solving behavior begins with an obstacle or difference between the original or initial state and goal or end state. The goal is desired by the operator in the situation and has some properties defined by the operator to convert the problem state into the goal state.

Benefits of Effective Problem-Solving Skills

  • Ability to make decisions more rationally and wisely
  • Avoid making wrong decisions
  • Avoid a variety of irrational ideas, false assumptions, and other emotions

Approaches to Problem Solving

What are the principles of sound decision making and different decision-making styles? How do you measure the return-on-investment of your decisions? How to make decisions with business partners who might not see the world the same way you do?

There are many approaches to problem-solving, depending on the nature of the problem and the people involved in the problem.

Rational Approach

The rational approach involves clarifying, giving a description of the problem, analyzing causes, identifying alternatives, assessing each alternative, choosing one, implementing it, and evaluating whether the problem was solved or not.

Appreciative Inquiry

This approach asserts that "problems" are often the result of our own perspectives or a phenomenon. For example, if we look at a particular situation as a "problem," then it will become one and we'll probably get very stuck with the "problem". The appreciative inquiry includes identification of our best times about the situation in the past, wishing and thinking about what worked best then, envisioning what we want in the future, and building from our strengths to work toward our vision.

Steps in Problem Solving

In an organizational context, one should adopt rational and creative approaches to problem-solving. Using a problem-solving approach and tools you can achieve the right mindset for problem-solving, can brainstorm alternatives, and analyze the problem using analogies, idea nets, and mind mapping and eventually visualize the best solution to your problem. Given below are generally accepted steps to problem-solving:

1. Identify the problem

Problem identification is undoubtedly the most important and the most difficult step in the process. All subsequent steps will be based on how you define and assess the problem at hand. A problem is a situation or condition of people or the organization that exists but members of the institution consider that undesirable.

2. Exploring the Alternatives

The second step in the problem-solving process is to explore alternative solutions to the problem identified in step 1. In this step one tries to generate and evaluate alternatives by doing brainstorming, taking surveys or facilitating discussions.

3. Selecting an Alternative

The third step in the problem-solving model is to select one of the alternatives. After one has evaluated each alternative, one alternative needs to be selected that would come closest to solving the problem with the most pros and minimum cons.

4. Implementing the Solution

The fourth step involves developing an action plan and implementation by arranging funding, resources, timelines, and target objectives. Resources include people, information (data), and things. The plan should state who will do what and when. And finally, implement the action plan to put the decision in place.

5. Evaluating the Solution

Evaluation means to monitor the progress to establish if the situation has changed and the problem has been resolved. Evaluating the results to declare the success of the alternative deployed.

Related Links

You may also like Building Perfect Creative Team | Assess Your Career Values | Communication Skills | Concept of Innovation | Generating Ideas using Brainstorming | Generating Ideas using SCAMPER | Process & Stages of Creativity | The Skill of Decision Making | Thinking & Problem Solving Skills | Understanding Concept of Creativity | Understanding Corporate Strategy
Creation Date Monday, 25 June 2012 Hits 9550

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