We usually say it to encourage people to prevent problems… but we actually know it’s not always possible (euphemism?).
Problem solving is a core competence nowadays.
That’s why today we’ll share some tips on how to improve your problems solving skill!
- Uncover the problem
Sometimes it is difficult to get people to admit or recognize a problem. We tend to sweep the problems under the carpet .
What can you do? You may ask an open question to encourage people to speak out, such as: “Is everything OK? Are there any issues?”; “Remember that we can learn from mistakes only if we discuss them”; “I’d like one coment from each person. Jack, you start, please”.
- Understand the complexity
Don’t look for solutions straight away. Make sure you understood the actual problem, as there might be many variables in the way. Psychological factors, or interpersonal, intercultural, organizational ones… Try not to assume anything. Ask. E.g.: So, is the core problem the fact that… ?; Can you tell me more about the background to this?; John, you mentioned that… But Anne said that… ?
- Deal with the people aspect
People personal problems (family problems, confidence, self esteem…) can make collaboration difficult. There are two basic approaches: we can engage people (so we can try to build a relationship with them, provide training or coaching…) or we can sanction them (so we can define clear goals and take disciplinary measures to deal with inappropriate attitudes or behaviour). The choice of strategy depends on your company culture and your beliefs.
The people aspect also involves culture. When working with an international team, you should remember that every culture has got its own standards and behaviours. For example: “on time” is a different concept in Italian culture and in Japanese one…!
What is good decision-making to you?
Have you ever considered these aspects when solving problems?
Come back next week for the second part & shape your language style!
Source: "Problem? What problem?", Business Spotlight, Ausgabe 5/2015