Soft skills help you to evaluate the problem. A logical and methodical approach is best in some circumstances.
You will need to be able to draw on your academic or subject knowledge to identify solutions of a practical or technical nature.
This stage involves in detecting and recognizing 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. Identifying a problem can be a difficult task in itself, is there a problem at all? What is the nature of the problem, are there in fact numerous problems? How can the problem be best defined? this should be 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, this leads to the second phase.
It is very important in careers such as advertising, marketing, the media and art and design where you may get questions in the selection process along the lines of write down one hundred ways to use a brick/paperclip, but it can also be of value in the job hunting process itself.
Use initiative to act on opportunities. Become a leader before other people view you as one. Healthy organisations reward those who take the lead, not just those with formal management roles:
☛ Take responsibility for own objectives, set priorities.
☛ Display a can do attitude even in demanding situations. Try to solve problems, rather than to pass them on to other people.
☛ Go the extra mile when asked to do tasks. Go beyond your job description. Do work that gets you noticed.
☛ Show enthusiasm: this will be noticed and you will eventually be rewarded.
☛ Take ownership of problems: anticipate potential problems, take emotive action and act quickly to resolve problems.
☛ Introduce improvements to the way things are done.
☛ Develop innovative practices. Value innovative thinking.
☛ Learn new skills that will enhance capability.
Lateral thinking, is the ability to think creatively or outside the box as it is sometimes referred to in business, to use your inspiration and imagination to solve problems by looking at them from unexpected perspectives. Lateral thinking involves discarding the obvious, leaving behind traditional modes of thought and throwing away preconceptions.
The last stage is about reviewing the outcomes of problem solving over a period of time, including seeking feedback as to the success of the outcomes of the chosen solution.
The final stage of problem solving is concerned with checking that the process was successful. This can be achieved by monitoring and gaining feedback from people affected by any changes that occurred. It is good practice to keep a record of outcomes and any additional problems that occurred.
This stage involves accepting and carrying out the chosen course of action.
Implementation means acting on the chosen solution. During implementation more problems may arise especially if identification or structuring of the original problem was not carried out fully.
You need to be able to:
☛ Problems can also be opportunities: they allow you to see things differently and to do things in a different way: perhaps to make a fresh start.
☛ Evaluate information or situations.
☛ Break them down into their key components.
☛ Consider various ways of approaching and resolving them.
☛ Decide on the most appropriate of these ways.
Be prepared for the "how did you solve a problem?" interview question with several examples, Think of specific examples where you solved a tough business problem or participated in the solution. Be able to explain what you did, how you approached the problem, how you involved others and what the outcome was in real, measurable results.
When your problem is simple, the solution is usually obvious and you do not need to follow the four steps we outlined earlier. So it follows that when you are taking this more formal approach, your problem is likely to be complex and difficult to understand because there is a web of interrelated issues.