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Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills to Move up the Ladder

If you want to increase your value as a leader or worker in your organization, place your bets on problem-solving skills.

You’ll not only increase your own value, however; you’ll help your team think more critically, too.

There’s probably not a day that goes by you don’t encounter problems on the job. Whether small or big, you need to know how to overcome these challenges.

Wouldn’t you want to be that go-to guy or gal in the office who is perceived as the person who can fast-track viable solutions, bring out the best in your team, and has a lot of value?

Here’s how to boost your problem-solving skills:

  1. Get to know the problem. Before you can come up with innovative solutions, you need to understand the problem. Take the time to clearly define the criteria necessary to come up with some approaches and then sort out a few options.
  2. Choose the best. Now that you have several potential solutions, it’s time to do a deep dive. Resist the temptation to offer several avenues to your boss or client; this may make you appear as indecisive or it could be confusing to the group. Instead, narrow your list of options down to the one best choice that will clearly solve the problem.
  3. Prioritize. If you reach a consensus among the group to proceed with the solution, or, if you’re working alone, have taken the necessary time to weed out the less-advantageous solutions, the next step is to create a strategy. Outline the action steps you should take to reach a solution and a timeline for doing so.
  4. Add more detail. Drill down into your checklist of action steps and provide more detail. What will it take to cover the essential tasks? What needs to be done? Is the action step well thought out and executed? Clearly define what success will mean at each step of the process.
  5. Reflect. Once you’ve performed all the steps to confidently solve the problem, it’s time to reflect. Did the solution work as expected? Were everyone’s expectations met? Was it the best solution? Were there any shortcomings? How could you change your approach in the future?

When you take the right approach to solving a problem, things get easier. With an effective, multi-step strategy for tackling challenges, you’ll get on everybody’s radar as the go-to person for getting problems solved and tackling complex challenges that leave other people perplexed.

Be the person in your organization who shines for effectively solving small problems, and you’ll soon be entrusted to help with bigger challenges.

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