Problem solving skills are a set of skills necessary to deal with life's events on a daily basis. Life is like a bed of roses where you find beautiful flowers growing among thorns.
It is does not matter whether you are working or not, whether you are in management or rank and file, whether you are a professional or just an ordinary clerk, a general worker or a farmer. In whatever walk of life, the ability to deal effectively with problems is necessary and essential.
Most recruiters look for people who are good at solving problems. This skill is necessary for managerial positions. So it is important that you can demonstrate to interviewers that you have the required problem solving skills.
One of the most valuable skills in this area is the ability to solve problems that are people-related and work-related.
Even if you are a fairly good leader, can work in teams, and creative, you may fall short if your problem solving skill is wanting.
Improving quality of decision making
Life is becoming more complicated and challenging. Working life is becoming more stressful. Technology has made some jobs easier but is making other jobs more complex and, at times, require leaping into the unknown.
It is therefore necessary to improve the quality of decision making. Training, mentoring, counselling, among many others need to become part of programs to improve people's ability in making better decisions. People especially those in management and positions of leadership need to continuously improve their skills. The quality and relevancy of training programs need to improve.
One person cannot do everything all by himself. He needs the skill to find the right people to help him. Problem solving does not stop at being able to solve problems but also to prevent them from happening again. People with the right set of skills have a higher likelihood of solving problems that trouble organizations, whether current or future.
How to go about making decision
Some writers list the following:
2. SWOT analysis
3. PEST analysis
Problem Solving Process
Equipped with good problem solving skills you can then make use of the following process.
1. Define and clarify the problem(s). Understand the exact nature of the problems. Find out the barriers in reaching the solutions.
2. Get all facts and find the causes. Some refer to this as "structuring the problem". You may find that there are problems at different levels.
3. Brainstorm the options and solutions. Talk to the people who are close to the problems.
4. Consider pros and cons for each of the options and solutions.
5. You then choose best option.
6. You need to explain option chosen to everyone affected.
7. Implement the option chosen.
What will you do if the option selected does not appear to lead to the objective. You may have to stop everything and go back to the drawing board.
You need to monitor and seek feedback in order to do this well.
Some prefer or recommend four steps only, namely,
1.Define the problem
2. Look for alternatives
3. Evaluate and select alternatives, and
4. Implement the solutions.
If you look for more information, you will note that other writers had also suggested some of these steps.
A Key Skill
Some consider problem solving skill as a key skill. They say that solving problems is part of the fundamental role of managers. And you may want to add, "and leaders, too."
Problems that you encounter each day call for solution one way or the other. You may manage to solve simple ones. But at times, you need other people's input in finding the right solutions. And the more you are exposed to such events the better your problem solving skills will become.
It is skill necessary for survival.