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Whether you are a student or a professional, whether in school, work or just private life, you will encounter problems in form of situations, issues, career or school work which will demand you to solve them. While some problems are pretty straightforward with a laid path for solving them or known solution, this is not always the case.

Whether it is solving a client’s issue or making a decision that will impact on your goals, problem solving skills come in handy when you are to resolve a complex situation or difficulty.  No one is born knowing how to handle problems; it is a learned skill and builds from one situation to another. However, there is a set of steps one goes through when solving a problem. This makes the process streamlined and guides you to an effective and quick resolution of the problem.

Here are the five steps to use when solving problems

  1. Identify the Problem

The whole process of solving a problem relies on first identifying the problem in clear certain terms. You have to be sure you are addressing the root of the problem and not symptoms or resulting effects. The very definition of problem solving is identifying the nature of a problem, breaking it down and coming up with a set of actions to address the problem and its resulting challenges. Define the problem in concise and clear terms to be able to plan on resolving it.

  1. Define the Main Elements of the Problem

The key to resolving the problem is breaking it in smaller and manageable parts. This is possible through identifying the elements of the problem. This makes the problem more manageable and you can create a plan around the various elements and even identify the best solutions as you will be knowing the different aspects of the problem. You can easily plan concrete steps to resolve the problem.

  1. Examine Possible Solutions

Having identified the elements of the problem it becomes important to look for the various possible solutions of each particular element of the problem in general. Deep analysis of the viability of each solution and the potential side effects have to be analyzed. It is important to think creatively and weigh different solutions while integrating several solutions together to have a comprehensive and effective solution in the end. Do not just entertain any haphazard solution as this can easily result in winding discussions and further time wastage.

  1. Act on Resolving the Problem

All you have done will be wasteful if you cannot come up with a concrete action plan. The plan should be a step by step execution plan and everyone involved should understand why the solution is the best. Act on the plan as soon as possible while also monitoring and evaluating the whole action of the plan.

  1. Look For Lessons Learned and Evaluate the Process

As earlier indicated with each solved problem you gain expertise and a new experience as well as confidence. You should look for all the lessons and evaluate how you could have made the problem solving process you have had much faster and more effective.

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