10 Quick Ways to Solve Real Problems
No matter what field you are working in, every day you have to deal with numerous problems that are urgent and need to be solved as quickly as possible. While dealing with a problem, it’s important not to just solve it but to solve the right problem in the right way.
Determining the right problem
One of the most common mistakes that people often make is trying to solve symptoms – not the real problem. As a result, wrong assumptions lead to wrong help and wrong decisions. For example, quick-thinking leaders often make inaccurate decisions and help their team in the wrong way simply because they falsely believe they know the real problem.
10 questions to solve real problems
#1. First, listen to complaints and your team’s concerns. Then ask them, “what problem are you trying to solve?” And even if you think you know the answer, pretend you don’t.
#2. When you know the problem, ask “what are you trying to achieve?”
#3. Determine “what the whole situation (project/life/etc.) will look like if this problem is solved?”
#4. Focus on your team’s behaviors and ask “what will you be doing when this problem is solved?”
#5. Think of people who can contribute to the solution. Ask “who can we add to problem-solving?”
#6. To make sure you’ve focused on the right problem, ask “why do you think you have a problem?”
#7. Try to determine when you noticed the problem for the first time and what you were doing.
#8. Use Sakichi Toyoda’s “5 Whys technique”. This interrogative technique is used to explore the cause-and-effect relationships underlying a particular problem.
For example, The vehicle will not start. (the problem)
- Why? – The battery is dead. (first why)
- Why? – The alternator is not functioning. (second why)
- Why? – The alternator belt has broken. (third why)
- Why? – The alternator belt was well beyond its useful service life and not replaced. (fourth why)
- Why? – The vehicle was not maintained according to the recommended service schedule. (fifth why, a root cause)
#9. Ask “are you procrastinating? What are you putting off that may help you solve the problem? Is there anything else you can add?”
#10. If you can’t find a solution, take a small break – go for a walk, talk to your trusted friends about the situation. This may help you look at the problem in a different way.