Running a business requires the ability to plan and anticipate issues; analyse the source of the problem or find the right question; assess the importance and urgency of the problem and actively create ideas that will solve the specific problem.
When I worked for an Innovation Consultancy I learnt how valuable customers and staff were in gaining creative solutions to business problems. Problem solving is not about sitting on the John quietly contemplating or silently worrying; it is a readiness to actively find an answer once you have defined the right question.
Rudyard Kipling’s – The Serving Men:
I keep six honest serving men,
They taught me all I know,
Their names are What and Why and When,
And How And Where And Who?
Einstein is quoted as saying “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.” http://www.the-happy-manager.com/support-files/best-management-tools-ever.pdf
There are many problem solving tools and strategies; but it is important to have the right mindset; every problem has a solution. My approach to problems is to focus on the solution not the problem; if the problem or question is defined then it deserves no more of my time. I meet business owners that think the problem bigger, they keeping it themselves and get stuck; the solution is to actively focus on finding a solution.
What I mean by actively solution finding:
· Use your business networking to seek out relevant people that may have some experience about this problem and post the question online or offline.
· Incentivise your staff and colleagues to find a solution; they have experience to do something about the problem.
· Invite independent contributors who care about the problem such as a customer, an entrepreneur or a mentor to give an informed outsiders view.
· Diarise a brain-storming session and use a facilitator so you can participate in the process.
· Get out of your business forget about your problem and open your mind to new insights; look at other industries, systems, products/services, online articles and offline experiences, sometime the solution can come from unusual places.
Remember the habits and mindset which created the problem will not be able to solve the problem. this is why an outsider’s view can save time and energy in helping form a solution. Through active problem solving many businesses find new business opportunities; do not be affair to invest in a creative problem solving process.
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Janice B Gordon: The Problem Solver Business Growth Consultant, Mentor, Speaker and Author. Business Evolution – Creating Growth in a Rapidly Changing World will give you the guidance you need to evolve you and your business and exceed your customers wants and needs.