1. Avoid believing that problems are clouds that go away after a while. Leaders should confront problems when they meet any. To understand a problem, they need to do a root cause analysis by finding out the causative factors affecting the situation. This must be done by identifying the various elements responsible for the situation and outlining them based on their risk potentials.
  2. Develop a problem statement. A problem statement will define the problem with all its attributes, contributing factors and its various facets. A problem statement indicates the understanding of the leader in terms of its magnitude, impact and consequences. The statement helps the leader to avoid finger pointing on their team members. Instead, it focuses on the complexity of the challenge facing the team and organization.
  3. 3. Collect and analyze data based on the identified features. This involves interviewing stakeholders, listening to team members and conducting surveys. Data gathering and analyses helps the leader to know which of the identified problem attributes contribute the greatest impact to the problem. Data gathering helps the leader to diagnose causative factors instead of relying on guess work or mere gossips.
  4. 4. Develop problem solving action plan. Once a leader has identified the critical problem factors, they move to the planning stage. Planning helps the leader to establish their values and the objectives of solving the problem. The problem solving plan defines what should be done, when, where and by who. The plan must have a time limit and measureable milestones built in it.
  5. 5. Execute the plan flawlessly. Execution is the key to the success of every plan. No matter how good or bad a plan is, execution is the simple leadership attribute that makes all the difference. In executing the plan, the leader must pay attention to quality assurance issues, the anticipated result and unforeseen challenges that were not contemplated during planning. Flawless execution helps a leader to exceed expected results.
  6. Measure and evaluate outcomes to ensure the problem has been solved. Measurement is a skill leaders use to control problem solving activities. All activities must be measured against plan to ensure the planned result was achieved at the end of the problem solving session.


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