Problems don’t ever seem to creep up on me. Instead, they lurch out of the darkness and create a detour in my already jam packed day. As a business owner, I have worked hard, trying to reduce the number of problems that arise, and I have worked even more diligently at trying not to let a problem that surfaces wreck my day. Regardless of how much effort, time and energy I exert to preempt problems, the little gremlins seem to find their way into my schedule.
Since problems are a fact of life, I have spent a considerable amount of time in problem solving mode. I would not consider my problem solving skill level on the scale of Sherlock Holmes or even Detective Columbo. More likely, I would compare myself to Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau from the Pink Panther movies. I may not go about solving problems in a straight line, but eventually, I will get there.
Here are 5 tactics I put into use when trying to solve problems:
Be passionate about the solution, not the problem. When a problem is presented to me, my initial instinct is to go into defense mode. I can feel the pulse in my neck begin to throb as my emotions kick in. Instead of denying the feeling, channel the energy into a passion to find a solution. As difficult as it may be to believe, the problem presented is not about you, it is more likely about your product, service or a situation that occurred in need of your attention. If you focus on the solution and not the problem you will see things in a whole different light.
Put the rules aside. When a problem is presented to you, and you start to work on the solutions, write down as many solutions as possible. Initially, do not focus on the rules, policies, procedures and guidelines. What you are actually doing by working this method is training your brain to be solution based. Once you have exhausted your “solutions list,” go back and strike out the bigger rule breakers. There is a possibility the rule bender solutions may fit the problem perfectly and that your company may be willing to make an exception to the rules for this specific situation. One step further, there is a chance that a problem presented is worthy of a rule change, making you a Class A problem solver and influencer. Nice job.
What does your gut tell you? When presented with a problem, it is usually presented with a “gut check” as well. Instinctively, you may have that sixth sense that evaluates the situation and presents its findings in a split second. If your gut instinct is usually correct, I would encourage you to present that as one of your initial solutions. If you are experienced in your profession, your gut is best guide for problem solving.
Keep everything in perspective. I would highly recommend you put the problem into perspective and evaluate it through the eyes of the source. Your customer wants to hear solutions that are based upon their needs, not the policies of your company. You will need to present solutions that show empathy, compassion and an understanding of the problem based upon the needs of your customer. You will find that solutions come much faster if you focus on the needs of others instead of your needs first.
Don’t go it alone. Bigger problems may require the efforts of more than just you. No need to be a solo superhero, let others help generate a solution with you. Batman had Robin and Speed Racer had Chim Chim, you too may need help. You will be amazed at how supportive others are when you ask their advice. Although your goal is never to pass the buck, the ability to enlist others should be within your problem solving tactics. Teamwork provides a great opportunity to resolve the most complex problems.
While problems are never fun to deal with, problem solving provides an great opportunity for you to grow, think fast on your feet and work magic into your day. Problems are bound to happen, it’s what comes next that is important.
What other techniques do you use to resolve problems during your day? Please share them in the comments section below. Also, take a moment and share my Nice Guys Finish First message on your favorite social media channel. LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook have been very successful at amplifying my message. Also, check out my writing on Huffington Post as well.
The launch date for my book is coming very soon. Amazon.com will be taking pre-orders for Nice Guys Finish First in the next few days. I will be emailing anyone on my mailing list. As we put the final touches, edits and designs together, please help me with the HUGE task of deciding the book cover design. Which design would look nice on your bookshelf?