Do you think you could solve any problem?
No matter how big it is, or how long it has affected your life?
Here are 8 simple steps to systematically solving any problem you face:
s-s-s-sounds nice, that line 😉
OK, here they are:
1. Clearly define the 'problem'
Most problems are actually due to a lack of communication or clarity around what the problem actually is in the first place. How many times in your life have you actually discovered that the problem you thought you had wasn't even the problem?
Keep digging and get to the root of the problem.
How many drugs are prescribed that don't actually cure the problem?
How many wars do you think solve the problems at hand?
Clearly define the 'problem' through precise questioning and active listening, and you are well on the way to the solution:
"A problem well stated is a problem half solved."
Have a 'How can I?' and not an 'I can't' attitude.
2. Approach the problem with the attitude that there is a logical, practical solution, even if you don't know what it is yet.
Be relaxed, confident and clear in your mind that the solution is there, and you just need to go through a natural, necessary process to get from A. the problem, to B. the solution.
3.Change your language from the negative to positive.
Instead of the word "problem," use the word "challenge." Problem is a negative word while challenge defines something that is there to be solved, a task that could even be fun, something to feel a sense of achievement to.
4. What are the causes of the 'problem'? [now 'challenge']
Failure to identify the causes or reasons for the 'challenge' often means the problem recurs time and again. Like Yo-You dieting is often linked to an emotional based challenge - not the food or exercise on the surface. And recurring mistakes or themes in your life are probably more deeply rooted.
It is so much faster and more powerful to get to the root cause of the challenge, than to attempt to solve the 'surface' of the challenge.
5. What are all the possible solutions?
List and physically write down as many solutions or answers to the 'challenge' as possible. The quantity of possible solutions usually determines the quality of the solution, and you will be amazed at just how many potentially limitless solutions there are to one challenge.
This also has the powerful effect of devaluing the challenge. I once wrote down 356 solutions to one problem and it made it look pretty.
The longer your list, the more creative and 'left-field' the solution, and they are often the best. They are also often the ones you don't usually think of, and so are new opportunities.
6. Make a decision.
Usually any decision is better than none.
People are scared to make decisions, often go around in circles, and worry that any decision they may make, might be wrong.
The only wrong decision is no decision, because even if you are not sure that the decision you have made is the right one, it will either get you one step closer to the right decision, give you the feedback you need to get to the solution, or teach you something new.
You then have the power to make even a bad decision the right one.
Have Faith in Yourself.
You have all the tools available now to solve any problem, give yourself some credit and have faith in your abilities; you're far more amazing than you realise! - at least that's what my Mum always told me
7. Assign responsibility for carrying out the decision with clarity.
Clearly designate the responsibility to solve the problem. The clearer, the better. If you are outsourcing or delegating the action to solve, give them autonomy to make the decisions too.Set a deadline for completion. A decision without a deadline is a debate.
Be practical when it comes to implementing the solution, review it, monitor it and set an end date to make it happen.
Have others buy into the decision and the end date so they take on responsibility too.
8. Follow-up, monitor the decision and feedback.
Was the outcome as you hoped or expected?
What worked? What could have been done better next time? How can we avoid having the same challenge again? Create new solutions and new courses of action.
Enjoy turning every new problem from a problem into a challenge, then a challenge into a solution 🙂