Now that you've brainstormed a list of potential problems, your next step is to think up effective solutions for these issues, noting the skills you will need to resolve them.
Problem Solving Barriers
Here are the steps most commonly used in problem-solving, their associated skills, and examples of where they are utilized in different career sectors. This requires that you gather and evaluate data, isolate possible contributing circumstances, and pinpoint the chief causal factors that need to be addressed in order to resolve the problem. Sometimes this involves teamwork, since two or more minds are often better than one. Whoever makes the decision must evaluate potential costs, required resources, and possible barriers to successful solution implementation.
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Plan implementation also typically involves alerting personnel to changes in their standard operating procedures SOPs. You don't have to provide a cookie-cutter answer. Employers are always eager for individuals who can think outside of the box and present new solutions, especially when old ones aren't working. The most important thing is to demonstrate your problem-solving skills in your answer.
If the interviewer proposes a potential problem, share how you'd resolve it. As you explain your thought process, use the steps listed above from analyzing the cause to assessing the effectiveness of your interventions. Explain how and why you solved the issue. Here are a few examples of how job candidates in different professions might describe their problem-solving skills:.
As a nurse practitioner, my primary responsibility is to use my problem-solving skills to diagnose illnesses and develop treatment plans. With each patient, I analyze their medical histories, their symptoms, and their potential exposures to different illnesses to determine if we can pin down a diagnosis immediately or to see, alternatively, if we need blood tests. I then develop a care plan and, if warranted, perform follow-up calls to check on the process of recovery.
When I was first hired as a paralegal, I inherited a backlog of 25 sets of medical records that needed to be summarized, each of which was hundreds of pages long. After I explained the problem to my supervisor, she and the attorney agreed to pay me to come in on Saturday mornings to focus on the backlog. I was thus able to eliminate it in a month. When I joined the team at Great Graphics as Artistic Director, the designers had become lackadaisical and uninspired because of a former director who attempted to micro-manage every step in the design process.
I used weekly round-table discussions to solicit creative input and ensured that each designer was given full autonomy to do their best work. I also introduced monthly team-based competitions that helped to build morale, spark exciting new ideas, and improve collaboration. Interviewers may also provide an example of a potential problem and then ask you to outline the steps you should take to address it. To prepare, brainstorm issues that commonly arise in your field. In this way the barriers can be overcome. Perspective Perspective causes us to see the world in different ways, and from different viewpoints.
A marketing officer is likely to see a problem in a different way to a service manager.
Problems happen. Does Problem Solving happen in your business?
Perspective can cause potential solutions to be missed or ignored as unworkable based on our beliefs, attitudes and opinions. Emotion Emotional blocks are the things that we feel that stop us to problem solve accurately.
This could be not suggesting an idea because it may sound stupid, and make us appear silly. Another example, is fear of change, or feeling guilty that the problem occurred in the first place.
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Intellectual Intellectual barriers can be caused by not having the training, skills or knowledge to solve a problem. For example, it could be a lack of skills in evaluation or research etc. Expression This is about how we express ourselves. Poor expression of problems and solutions lead to misinterpretation and communication.
Seven Ways to Problem Solve
Many problem-solving techniques often have a way to solve this directly via creating a problem definition and the use of visual techniques. But people may still struggle to come up with an accurate description — using a best fit instead. These are hindrances caused by the social or physical environment, and impact on our ability to think clearly or to perform a task. For example, a noisy office stops the problem solver being able to concentrate on the task. However, environmental blocks can also be more practical, e. Environmental issues can be easy to overlook and relate directly to external experiences rather than internal thoughts and feelings.
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Cultural This works on three levels. One is about how we behave in relation to workplace culture and ethics. The next is about our own cultural bias. This includes all forms of discrimination. The final one is about how our own culture expects us to behave. If you come from a culture where it is encouraged to be reserved, you may have issues sharing your ideas.
If you come from a culture where discussion is encouraged, you may diverge from the topic. Different blocks, and combinations of these result in a range of barriers to problem solving. There is no definitive way to link blocks to barriers but some suggestions are provided below. Confirmation Bias This is about not following the problem solving method, and so introducing bias. This can be the result of missing steps out, or not using them correctly.
Confirmation Bias arises when the approach taken is to confirm a preconceived solution.
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Basically, you would have found the solution before you found the problem, and perceive the problem solving method through this lens perspective and intellectual blocks. It is about reusing what has been successful in the past, rather than assessing and evaluating the problem.
It relies on previous experiences to direct how a problem can be solved. This could be an intellectual block, as the problem solver is not prepared to learn new problem solving skills, and emotionally relies on familiarity to feel comfortable with a solution. Functional Fixedness This is about not thinking creatively.
It is a narrow mind-set. Functional Fixedness comes from people thinking that an object has only one function.