As a business leader it is your responsibility to solve, or to make sure that, problems are solved. After all you will have a set of objectives to achieve and any obstacles that get in the way will create problems. Therefore, removing those obstacles to help you achieve those objectives is one of your main business activities.
As Paul Hawken said, “Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them”
It is from your leadership that the business will develop the right attitude towards problem solving. There are five key attributes to help you focus. Remember them as the 5C's
1. Commitment. If you are not committed to making sure that those obstacles are removed to help you achieve your objectives then it is unlikely that your employees will not be committed either. Demonstrating your commitment to problem solving through your actions and words is very strong message to give to your staff.
2. Culture. Developing and nurturing a culture within your business that encourages a smooth process for problem solving is critical to business success. If, on the other hand, you have created a culture of fear where people are frightened to put their head above the parapet or say what they really think, you will be holding your business back. In a fear and blame culture, your people will recognise problems but will actively bury them because they are frightened to speak out. These problems then become really big issues for your business. Along with demonstrating your commitment building an open and transparent culture towards problem solving is crucial.
3. Creativity. Successful problem-solving is all about logic plus creativity. For any one obstacle that might come your way there will be a number of ways of solving it. Putting creativity at the heart of your business will enable you and your team to come up with creative solutions that will no doubt transform a problem into an opportunity.
“We are constantly faced with great opportunities brilliantly disguised as problems” Anonymous
4. Continued Improvement. For any business to grow and succeed it must continually improve. In the majority of cases problems arise through inadequacies with the processes, systems and procedures within your business. By actively looking for those gaps & problems and then solving them, you will be fostering a culture of continuous improvement. Each problem you solve means the business runs smoother, more efficiently & effectively and the result will be more profit, happier staff and a fun place to work.
5. Competence. Whilst you may have the commitment, the right culture and the creativity to focus on problem solving to help your continued improvement you also need to be competent. Throughout life we learn lots of different ways to solve problems. As children we soon worked out what we had to do when we didn’t get a new toy at the first time of asking! We learnt the skills but we must now be competent in deploying those skills in a business scenario. Firstly, find the problem second make sure that you have got to the root of the problem and then implement the problem-solving process within your business to overcome the obstacles.
Every day we are faced with problems but it is how we approach the solving of those problems which defines us as a leader.
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