How to Solve Problems in 5 Easy Steps

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I was having a pretty bad start to the week on Monday, but it got progressively better early one. One of the reasons was because I received an award at work for quickly resolving an issue.  I remember when the situation happened (just a couple of weeks ago) and how I resolved it. As it is, I do lots of problem solving so I have a good grasp on how to handle things. Funnily enough, my client (who is a CFO) said “Lourdes, I create problems and I solve problems and what matters most is how you resolve problems.” I think that is so true because we cannot escape life without problems. Problems will always present themselves no matter how great things are going. The important thing is to come up with a solution instead of complaining. Here are a few steps I take to resolve issues:

  1. Identify the problem quickly and own it – No matter what you are doing, whether at work or at home, you are bound to run into issues. Sometimes, it may seem easier to ignore the problem until it gets out of hand, but trust me, the sooner you deal with it, the easier your life will be (well, until the next problem presents itselfJ. Maybe you are throwing a party and the caterer is not going to make it, or maybe you have deliverables to show at work, but you are not ready. Whatever the case, identify the problem quickly and decide what is the most important outcome.
  2. Break down the solution and keep your focus on it – So many times, we tend to get caught up in blaming and focus on the problem instead of the solution. Who can take place of the caterer? Make a list of other restaurants/sources you can contact. How quickly can you get your work project finished? Who do you need to contact to help you? In my case, I jotted down some names and numbers and different processes that needed to be done.
  3. Take action – Now that you have broken down the solutions, start taking action. Make the calls, write the emails and delegate what you can. When I was dealing with my issue, there were many people on board. We all had the same goal – resolve the customer’s issue as quickly as possible. I took action and kept track of the items that needed to be done.
  4. Communicate clearly and often – Make sure you communicate clearly and keep everyone in the loop at all times. If it’s a customer you are dealing with and the issue could take hours (or maybe days, heck even if it’s just minutes) make sure you always keep them in the loop. They do not need to know every little detail, but always let them know you are working as quickly as possible to resolve the issue.
  5. Learn from the mistake – Once you have resolved the issue, take a step back and evaluate it. We are not perfect. We are human beings. Even when we do our best, something can (and usually will) go wrong. The important thing is to take it into account and learn from it. As long as you put your best efforts forward, know that mistakes happen to everyone. And, remember, it’s not the problem that is important, but how you resolve them.

How do you solve problems? Any tips and tricks are welcome in the comment section!

4 thoughts on “How to Solve Problems in 5 Easy Steps

  1. My steps to problem solving aren’t as clearly outlined yet but I’m definitely with you on #1 and 2. #5 is something I get lazy about, admittedly 🙂 At work we’re always reminded to take time to reflect (a.k.a make sure it doesn’t happen again), but we used to order pizza instead 😛

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