How to improve problem solving skills: in 9 steps (with Diagram)

improve problem solving skills

Do you know that problem solving is a skill and it can be improved, so knowing the steps to improve problem solving skills will make you more professional and respected in your personal relation with others and workplace relation.

You should know that getting nervous and frustrated by looking at a problem is the actual serious problem rather than the problem itself.

Once you learn the steps  of problem solving,  problem solving will become an opportunity for you rather than disturbing you negatively.

Be assured that the problem is faced by everyone on this planet, it can be in a different way and situation, But the trouble with most people is that they think their problems are the biggest and most severe in the universe. 

If there is a problem, there is also a solution, you just need to know the strategy of solving the problem. 

In this article, I will guide you through simple  9 steps to improve your problem solving skills.

You can improve problem solving skills by: Defining the root problem, detecting the cause of the problem, seeking for a solution, listening actively, gathering ideas, list the possible solutions, use creativity skill, execute the best plan, examining the result. 

  1. learning to define the root problem rather than thinking the symptoms as the problem
  2. Focus on the cause of the problem and fix it there, do not try to fix the result of the problem
  3. Seek for the genuine solution of the problem rather than focusing on the problem
  4. Develop an active listening skill and collect wide range of information related to the problem
  5. Make your goal of accumulating ideas from several people, do not be to proud of your own ideas
  6. Prepare a list of all the possible solution plans and order them according to their importance
  7. Think creatively to find a new and easy way of fixing the problem, learn to think out of box and stop following only old patterns of problem solving plans
  8. Sort out and implement the best solution plan with understanding of risk factor 
  9. Once you implement the plan, examine the outcome and if needed try another plan unless you find the best result

9 Steps to improve problem solving skills are:

  1. Define the main or root problem
  2. Find out the cause of the problem
  3. Genuinely seek for solution
  4. Be an active listener
  5. Gather ideas from others
  6. Make a list of many possible solution
  7. Contribute the creative idea
  8. Implement the best solution plan
  9. Analyze the result or outcome

1. Define the main or root problem

It is very common that most people think that the symptom of the problem is a real problem. As an example, if a person gets a fever, the fever is not the actual problem rather it is just a symptom of some kind of disease.  Actually the disease is the problem, not the fever, once the person get rid of the disease, the fever will disappear.

Another one example, suppose you find that your business is not growing, now you may think that the problem is that business is not growing, but if you go deep down you will find that some other factors that are causing this symptom which is under growth of your business. The actual cause may be your  employees are not giving the right service to the people or having rude or bad manners to the customer, due to which you are losing the customers.  So you see that the actual problem is with your employee, that you are having a group of bad employees.

In the same manner, whenever you see some problem, do not be confused with the symptom rather try to find out what is the actual root problem. 

2. Find out the cause of the problem

Once you understand the actual problem,  now is the time to find out what is causing the problem.

Let us understand this with an example, suppose you are having a fever, and after a test, you understood that actually you got malaria. So you understood that the fever was not the actual problem but the actual problem is malaria.

Now is the Perfect time to find out the cause of malaria. The cause is you got bitten by a mosquito. So, You can see that the mosquito is the cause of the problem, but if you go more down, you will find that you made an environment for breeding mosquitoes, maybe it was intentionally or unintentionally. 

So simply if you do not allow the mosquito to grow or breed,  then they will not be produced and as a result they will not be able to bite you and you will not have malaria.

3. Genuinely seek for solution

After knowing the actual problem and the root cause of the problem, now  you may need to seek for a genuine solution.  But while you are thinking of a solution, an important factor is that, are you really genuinely seeking a solution or you are just doing it because you just need to do it. 

 Having a clear goal and genuine spirit to seek the solution is very important for actually solving the problem. 

Therefore prepare yourself genuinely to seek and solve the problem  by giving your best. 

4. Be an active listener

As you know, most people like to speak rather than listening, and  this creates another problem.

 In order to be a good problem solver, it is very necessary that you become an active listener.  get rid of the habit of interrupting others when someone is speaking rather wait for your turn and listen very carefully while the other is speaking something.

Listen to other’s point of view very carefully, do not think that what you think is the only right.

Listening actively and carefully can help you a lot to move towards the actual solution of the problem.

5. Gather ideas from others

You may have a wonderful idea to solve the problem, but do not just rely on your own idea, try your best to gather as much as possible from other expert people.

 As you gather ideas from other people, you will find that a lot of new thoughts will be appearing in your mind which will help you to make better decisions.

Do not take decisions just by others’ ideas, rather as you collect the ideas from several people, sit down and evaluate them and try to find out the better way to solve the problem by analyzing them  carefully. 

6. Make a list of many possible solution

After you gather the sufficient ideas and information from different sources and people.  create a list of possible solution plans, which can be enforced in order to bring solution to the problem by eradicating the cause of the problem.

Create at least three possible solution plans.

7. Contribute the creative idea

As you prepare the solution plan it is very important that you impart some creative ideas. Do not just rely on the pattern that is followed by several people, but try your best to contribute the creative way to solve the problem. Do not forget to be creative and innovative as you are trying to solve the problem.

8. Implement the best solution plan

Once you are ready with your creative ideas and possible solution plan.  implement the best solution plan keeping in mind the risk factors and other necessary matters.

Think before what the possible consequences can be there, as you implement the solution plan, how much of risk you need to take in order to enforce this solution plan. 

9. Analyze the result or outcome

As you have enforced the best solution plan, it is vital that you analyze the outcome very carefully.  monitor the result continuously so that you understand what kind of result is being produced from your solution plan. If you see any progress then continue in that plan but if you see there is some negative effect then stop there and try for another solution plan which can be best fit according to your previous experience in this problem solving journey. 

Let me know your suggestion in the comment section below for adding more life to this article and helping others to grow.

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