Source: Fast Company, Aug 2014
- Define each problem in detail before trying to solve it
Take time to understand the problem, understand the criteria for a good decision, and generate some good options.
- Offer one or two firmly suggested solutions
Offering too many suggestions will only confuse your client and allow him to become indecisive. Be very clear on the direction you offer with your solution and ask the person or team you are supporting to repeat it back so that it is clear.
- Prioritize your client’s action steps to help avoid overwhelm
If your client agrees to take action, ask him to relax and focus on moving forward. Be sure that the action-steps requested are doable and achievable in a timely manner.
- Implement a step-by-step plan of action
When you approach problems systematically, you cover the essentials each time–and your decisions are well thought out, well planned, and well executed. Provide a checklist and mark off each item as it is achieved so that others feel that they are achieving their goals and moving away from problems, obstacles, and challenges as they take action steps. This will keep them motivated and in motion.
- Look for more ways to improve upon the problem-solving idea to avoid future problems
Continue to perfect your problem-solving skills and use them for continuous improvement initiatives to serve your clients’ needs. The more effectively you solve problems, the more value you create as the go-to authority.
Develop a system to support more people in a timely manner by making note of your problem-solving process. Many of the problems you solve for others will be the same or similar problems you will support others with in the future.