Problem Solving For Managers

This stage involves: detecting and recognising that there is a problem; identifying the nature of the problem; defining the problem.The first phase of problem solving may sound obvious but often requires more thought and analysis.

This stage may not be necessary for very simple problems but is essential for problems of a more complex nature.

During this stage you will generate a range of possible courses of action, but with little attempt to evaluate them at this stage.

If you are hungry then your goal is probably to eat something.

If you are the head of an organisation (CEO), then your main goal may be to maximise profits and this main goal may need to be split into numerous sub-goals in order to fulfil the ultimate aim of increasing profits.

From the information gathered in the first two phases of the problem solving framework it is now time to start thinking about possible solutions to the identified problem.

In a group situation this stage is often carried out as a brain-storming session, letting each person in the group express their views on possible solutions (or part solutions).However well prepared we are for problem solving, there is always an element of the unknown.Although planning and structuring will help make the problem solving process more likely to be successful, good judgement and an element of good luck will ultimately determine whether problem solving was a success.Following our examples above, if you feel hungry then your goal is to eat.A barrier to this may be that you have no food available - so you take a trip to the supermarket and buy some food, removing the barrier and thus solving the problem.Trying to solve a complex problem alone however can be a mistake.The old adage " Effective problem solving usually involves working through a number of steps or stages, such as those outlined below.Identifying a problem can be a difficult task in itself. What is the nature of the problem, are there in fact numerous problems? By spending some time defining the problem you will not only understand it more clearly yourself but be able to communicate its nature to others, which leads to the second phase.This stage involves: a period of observation, careful inspection, fact-finding and developing a clear picture of the problem.Problem solving skills are highly sought after by employers as many companies rely on their employees to identify and solve problems.A lot of the work in problem solving involves understanding what the underlying issues of the problem really are - not the symptoms.

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