Wednesday, August 4, 2010

to solve a problem

  • Approach the issue with clarity. This is the first and most important component to problem solving. While action and energy can often assist you in overcoming challenges, this effort is a waste if misguided or misplaced. The first step is always to approach any issue in a clear and logical manner, even if under time constraints or pressure.
  • Understand the issue. Once you're appropriately focused, you need to run through the problem. What are the components of the issue? What aspects are vital to a solution and which are extraneous? Once you've broken down a problem into its vital aspects, sort through any cause and effect relationships or patterns and cycles at work. Basically, you want to have a good grasp of what is going on.
  • Plan a strategy. After you have a good grasp of the problem, begin to plan out a solution. In most cases this is a simple relationship of cause and effect. In dealing with a problem, you desire to achieve a particular result. Consider what steps must be taken to achieve said result, given the parameters posed by the problem.
  • Execute your strategy. Once you've outlined logical steps toward your desired result, execute! If you are dealing with an issue such that conditions change upon execution, don't be afraid to reevaluate your strategy. Is something going vastly awry? Approach any new developments in the same logical manner in which you approached the original problem. This is important. You must make a critical decision as to whether or not your plan warrants alteration. Remember, changes in parameters of the issue do not necessarily mean the steps you've outlined will fail! In addition, it is sometimes necessary to execute your original plan fully to gain more insight into the problem. Unless this is a one shot deal, trial-and-error is often an excellent approach.
  • Evaluate the results. Upon seeing your plan through, consider the result. Optimally, you successfully tackled the dilemma. However, if the results you expect were not achieved, consider your approach. Was there an error in planning or execution? Did new parameters present themselves? Reevaluate in light of these discoveries and approach the problem again. Sometimes you can repeat your original plan if the error was in execution. However, if the parameters have changed then a new strategy is often necessary.
  • Continue to evaluate and execute. Several attempts may be necessary to solve the issue. Each time, however, keep in mind logic, clarity, and focus. These are the elements that ultimately lead to resolution. Even if you are checked by failure, clear thinking usually leads to a successful resolution..


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