Problem-solving is a key skill that can make a huge difference to your business. Whether resolving a problem between you and your client, you and your employees, or you and your union, three things need to exist:
1. Shared goals
The thing about shared goals is that you have to walk the talk. In good problem resolution, before trying to solve the problem, take the time to define what the problem is in detail. Ask “Why” over and over until you can’t go any deeper. If you don’t work on the roots of a problem, any resolution is merely temporary.
2. Effective communication
Effective communication happens when the communication lines are open and allow ad hoc as well as pre-planned conversations. In a work setting, effective communication means you seek out opportunities to share information, consult, and get feedback. Additionally, your employees can pop in or pick up the phone at any time to ask questions, get clarity, share ideas and information, brainstorm, discuss, and debate. In fact, healthy constructive debate is fundamental to problem-solving because it opens up the possibilities of new ideas and solutions being brought to forward. It should never be personal but always about the problem and solutions-focused, as opposed to simply venting or complaining.
Digging into positions creates trench warfare. Compromise is critical to resolving a problem because it involves 3 activities:
- Acknowledging and valuing different perspectives,
- Recognizing that achieving the shared goal is paramount, and
- Willingness to flex to overcome the obstacle in pursuit of the shared goal
What compromise doesn’t mean is selling your soul, giving up your values and principles or being left with no other options because those types of compromise merely set the stage for future problems.