Tip of the Week: Tackle Any Problem in 7 Simple Steps
Problem solving is a major aspect of managing a company, as well as managing pretty much all other aspects of life. The key to successful problem solving is having a plan and taking it one step at a time. For this week’s tip, we’ll look at a popular problem solving plan developed by the UK’s Behavioral Insights Team. It’s a plan so simple that anyone can do it!
1. Set a goal.
Setting a goal seems like an obvious place to start, yet it’s easy to overlook if the problem is overwhelming and needs to be resolved quickly. One key advantage that comes with setting a goal is that you’ll know for sure when it’s completed. This way, you can confidently mark the problem as resolved and move on.
2. Make a plan with a bright line.
In this context, “a bright line” conveys a similar idea to the adage “a straight line is the shortest distant between two points;” ie, your bright line is an efficient plan that, if followed, will lead to your goal being achieved. When problem solving, it’s crucial to have a bright line so you’ll know for certain if you’re on track or not. Without such a clearly drawn line, you’ll find yourself getting pulled every which way.
3. Make a commitment with a commitment referee.
When it comes to sticking to a plan and achieving a goal, having someone help keep you accountable goes a long way. The Behavioral Insight Team recommends that your commitment referee not be someone who’s close to you, otherwise they won’t be hard on you if you miss the mark. Instead, have a co-worker serve this role, especially if they’ve got something to gain by you achieving your goal.
4. Create a reward.
While achieving your goal or solving the problem makes a nice reward in and of itself, you can infuse the process with smaller rewards for each step you achieve toward your goal’s completion. For example, if you’ve got a lot of overdue emails that you need to reply to, then delay grabbing a snack until you reach the halfway mark, and reward yourself by having lunch at your favorite restaurant only after completing all of the emails.
5. Share your goals with others.
As annoying as it can be to see friends post their exercise achievements to social media, there’s a psychological benefit in doing so. Essentially, these fitness nuts are leveraging peer pressure to help them stay on task, and this works for them whether or not you care about how far they jogged today. In a similar way, going public with your goal helps you stay on task, even if you just share this information with a lone colleague.
You’ve seen this time and again in the work environment when feedback like constructive criticism addresses mistakes and steers projects in the right direction. In similar fashion, by seeking feedback on a goal you’re working toward or a problem you’re trying to resolve, you’ll benefit by gaining a fresh perspective that you might not have otherwise considered. Ultimately, gaining this feedback may even help you achieve your goals quicker.
When making goals, your plan needs to extend beyond achieving the goal itself, or even the problem getting resolved. Instead, you’ll want to put mechanisms in place that makes sure the fixed problem stays fixed. Otherwise, you might have to go through the entire process once again, all because you didn’t have enough foresight to see beyond your initial goal. One classic example of this is when it comes to repairing your company’s broken technology. If you simply fix a computer without also setting up preventative maintenance procedures to take care of what you just fixed, then it’s only a matter of time before your equipment breaks down again, and again.
Of course, to help you make goals, stick to your plans, and improve overall productivity, there are a significant number of technologies and productivity apps designed to organize this entire process and keep you on task. You’ll find that by taking advantage of the right technologies, solving problems becomes a lot less intimidating and much easier to manage.
Are you looking for ways that technology can improve workflows and help organize your business? If so, then call Resolve I.T. at (978) 993-8038 and we’ll recommend the tools you need to succeed.