Every problem that comes up is an opportunity to grow.
To solve a problem you will need to ask questions until you can define the problem then you will have to come up with creative solutions for each stage of the problem and then use decision-making skills to choose a solution.
The absolute first step to know the problem is to find the root cause of the problem.
Facing the wrong root cause won't help. For example, replacing the wrong part, or even replacing the wrong person. This happens all the time. For example, many people think that if they could get a pay rise they would enjoy their work more and be happy in their life. But money might not be the cause of their unhappiness or their lack of enjoyment of their job.
Sometimes there are two causes and we only know about one of them, so the problem continues, even after we think we've fixed it.
Sometimes there are two causes and we only know about one of them, so the problem continues, even after we think we've fixed it. Simple research into the hypothesis you have about the problem can save you a lot of resources.
So you will need to get a list of possible causes and the work out which one is the real cause.
Sometimes the cause of a problem might have an even deeper cause, and it's necessary to track them right down to the root. For doing this, there's a great technique known as the Five Whys. The idea is that you ask why maybe up to five times, certainly more than once, until you get right down to the start of the problem.
Sometimes why questions will lead you to a loop, these loops are dangerous negative feedback systems and it will cause more damage over time. So as a problem solver we will need to find a solution to break these loops as we are analyzing the question.
Kepner-Tregoe problem-solving method:
Originally used by NASA this method is now used to solve complex problems
It's a very comprehensive and mechanical process where you analyze the situation, define the problem and the causes, sometimes known as root cause analysis, then you identify and evaluate possible solutions, select the best one, and then you consider possible risks with the solution that you've chosen.
To use this method for a daily problem you will need to ask questions and change the settings of your system according to the question to come up with an answer to that problem. for example, if you have an underperforming person, try moving them, swapping them with someone else. Then you can really find out if it's the person or something in the job, like, for example, their manager.
Vilfredo Pareto analysis:
Now there's another big name in the world of problem-solving and that's Vilfredo Pareto. Most people have heard of the 80/20 principle, which is also known as the Pareto Principle, which started with the observation that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the people.
In other words, there are a few underlying causes that are causing most of your problems. But what's the use of knowing this? Well, the point is that if you focus on eradicating just 20% of your problems, you'll save 80% of the cost, 80% of the time and money that they are costing you.
Based on this principle from 10 causes the top two causes are 16x more costly than the other problems. The other eight being all the small ones that only add up to 20% of the cost.
Now you will need to generate possible solutions for the top problems you found.
Adopted from Problem-solving course in lynda.com