By Archibong Archibong
Problems, as viewed by most persons, are irritants, impediments, hassles and headache faced in the journey of life. It is a discrepancy or difference between an actual state of affairs and a desired state of affairs. In a work environment or in an organization, problems are actually, something to do, something challenging, something positive, something to show our worth, something to improve our performance.
The act of defining a problem, determining the cause of the problem, identifying, prioritizing, and selecting alternatives for a solution, implementing the solution and measuring results is termed “effective problem solving”. Effective problem solving is a key management skill and a major factor in determining individual and organizational success.
To solve problems effectively, we must consider decision making as a paramount step. Decision making as part of the problem solving process involves the consideration of a number of possible solutions for the situation, alternatives to be taken and methods in achieving results.
People with good problem solving skills adapt more quickly in times of rapid change and are generally the high achievers, whether it is by putting things right when they go wrong, making the best use of resources, or creating and exploiting opportunities. These people find themselves suddenly needing to “think on their feet” and solve problems that are far more high-level and complicated than they’ve ever really had to deal with before.
Each of us has an innate ability to solve problems. To develop this ability we need a clear understanding of the skills and techniques involved and of course practice in applying them in different situations. Therefore, to be a successful problem solver we must go through these stages:
- See that there is a problem.
- Define and specify the nature of the problem.
- Generate possible solutions.
- Define criteria for making a decision.
- Look for optimal solution.
- Make the decision.
- Implement it.
- Check that it has worked.
The ability to deal with problem effectively is a major requirement for achieving success or completing a task in any organization. It involves a blend of knowledge, skills and judgement.