Problem-solving is the skill your employees need17 May 2021
If 2020 taught the world nothing else, it's that people and organisations alike must be able to quickly adapt when issues arise, and find creative solutions to the problems they encounter. Whether large, small or anything in between, you want to be able to handle any potential issue — whether it's encountered by a single employee, a small team or the whole company — with relative ease and as little frustration as you can.
As you might imagine, however, this is far more easily said than done in many cases. Problems can quickly present a mountain of difficult circumstances that aren't just hard to solve, but are also difficult to fully understand. As such, problem-solving should be seen as a four-step process, according to Career Builder: defining the issue, brainstorming for alternative solutions, agreeing on the best of those solutions and then implementing those steps.
Where to start
It's difficult to overstate a manager's role in empowering workers to be better problem-solvers. You should reassure them that you trust their input on any particular issue and should collaborate to arrive at specific goals you want to achieve, rather than how to get to those endpoints, according to Entrepreneur magazine. You should push them to use their creativity when it comes to potential solutions, and make sure they feel supported in the decisions they make (even there are some ideas that don't work in actual practice).
That support should certainly include any resources or assets they might need to get from Point A to Point B for any solution you come up with.
Navigating the issues
As frustrating as problems can be when they arise, it's not as though many in the business world are going to have a simple, straightforward answer that's easy to arrive at. Consequently, you need to ensure your employees can adapt not only to the initial problem, but also the potential dead ends they encounter while working toward a solution. Thriveyard noted that having some flexibility built into your plans so that, as you monitor your progress, you're able to course-correct and ensure everyone remains on the same page even if plans have to be altered.
You will also need to make sure you can evaluate the end result of your collective work on these issues, and measure the results you arrive at. That way, if you mostly address the problem, but there are still some small concerns that need to be addressed, your employees can quickly and easily pivot to those projects, without feeling as though you've totally missed the mark.
When you want to make sure your company is fully prepared — at every level — to tackle problems head-on and find solutions that work for everyone, it helps to engage in a bit of training on the subject. ICML's Creative Problem Solving course can be scaled to your organisation's unique needs, whether it's a large or small group (in-person or virtual). Get in touch with us to learn more about how we can help your employees help themselves by solving problems more effectively.