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So, being a confident problem solver is really important to your success.Much of that confidence comes from having a good process to use when approaching a problem.
With one, you can solve problems quickly and effectively.
Without one, your solutions may be ineffective, or you'll get stuck and do nothing, with sometimes painful consequences.
The good news is that there are numerous tools you can use to make sense of this tangled mess!
Many of these help you create a clear visual representation of the situation, so that you can better understand what's going on. To generate viable solutions, you must have a solid understanding of what's causing the problem.
For example, consider this problem statement: "We have to find a way of disciplining of people who do substandard work." This doesn't allow you the opportunity of discovering the real reasons for under-performance.
The CATWOE checklist provides a powerful reminder to look at many elements that may contribute to the problem, and to expand your thinking around it.When your problem is simple, the solution is usually obvious, and you don't need to follow the four steps we outlined earlier.So it follows that when you're taking this more formal approach, your problem is likely to be complex and difficult to understand, because there's a web of interrelated issues.There are four basic steps in solving a problem: Steps 2 to 4 of this process are covered in depth in other areas of Mind Tools.For these, see our sections on Creativity for step 2 (generating alternatives); Decision Making for step 3 (evaluating and selecting alternatives); and Project Management for step 4 (implementing solutions).Appreciative Inquiry is designed to help you understand complex problems so that you can start the process of solving them.It uses four stages to help you uncover more details about what's creating the problem, and then define actions that will improve the situation.Whether you're solving a problem for a client (internal or external), supporting those who are solving problems, or discovering new problems to solve, the problems you face can be large or small, simple or complex, and easy or difficult.A fundamental part of every manager's role is finding ways to solve them.Using established tools and techniques will help you improve your approach to solving the problems that your team and your organization face.You'll be more successful at solving problems and, because of this, more successful at what you do.