Solving problems is part and parcel of the role of a leader and manager. Good managers and leaders understand this and cultivate the skills and expertise to become effective problem solvers. At the same time, they are alert to 5 common hazards that can get in the way of effective problem solving.
Hazard 1: Fixing the wrong problem
Smart people like to be seen as people who get things done and make things happen. Trouble is they sometimes jump into actions with both feet. Making the time during problem solving sessions to identify clearly what the problem is can make a huge difference to the results that you achieve. Don’t see this as time wasting but as time investment to get the best outcome that you can.
Hazard 2: Judging too quickly
It is all too easy to start to judge the ideas that have been generated too quickly and as a result miss out on things that have real potential. How many times have you heard on a team someone say almost instantly that something will not work? In these situations, it is likely that the person is making a judgement based on a past experience which may or may not be relevant in the current situation. Re-educate people to be active and open to ideas rather than being judge and jury.
Hazard 3: Stopping at first good idea
Chances are when thinking about the problem, a good idea will probably come up fairly early on. The temptation might be to get on and implement this first idea. However, remember if it were that easy to come up with the best ideas first time, problem solving would not be an issue. Asking the question, “What else?” can often be a great way of keeping the momentum going.
Hazard 4: Being constrained by boundaries
All organisations have their rules, procedures and policies. At the same time, these can end up seeming like a constraint, even when they are not. If you are worried about boundaries, check out your understanding first rather than second guessing what they are.
Hazard 5: Not building support
If you have a challenge or problem that needs addressing, chances are you are going to need the support of colleagues or team to resolve it. As you work through the problem solving process, focus on working with others to build the support and get the result your desire.
The bottom line:
Avoiding some of the common hazards can make a huge difference to the results and success that you get when it comes to problem solving.
Duncan Brodie helps accountants to become highly effective leaders and managers and achieve more career success. Learn more here
Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 7,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.