A better method for problem solving

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.