Albert Einstein said ”If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask … for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.” Follow this process to solve a problem that is challenging you:
- State your problem clearly. Examine it from all angles, Identifying all parties with a stake in the issue. Determine who will be affected, and decide who needs to be involved in resolving the problem.
- Figure out why you need to solve this problem. What will your organization gain from resolving the issue? Will there be cost savings or profit gains? Maybe it’s not really a problem but simply a bad policy or process you need to do away with.
- Bring everyone together for brainstorming. Involve everyone who will be directly affected by the problem and together come up with a solution everyone can live with. Clearly outline a plan and assign everyone duties and deadlines to ensure that the issue is resolved swiftly.
- Evaluate the solution. Within a month, bring the team back together to discuss your progress and determine if the solution is working or if you need to go back to the drawing board.
— Adapted from “Define Your Problems Before You Solve Them,” Daniel Lock, www.daniellock.com.