How do you solve a problem?

Whatever business you’re in, the chances are something will go wrong sooner or later – or not go quite as well as it could – so you need to fix it.

Many people implement a potential solution without giving it enough consideration or analysis, investing time and effort into a hastily devised solution.

Sometimes they will be right, but often they are wrong, and the time and effort are wasted.

Sometimes that inappropriate solution has just made the situation worse – the problem has become more complicated.

The first step is to identify the problem. That sounds obvious, but you would be amazed how much effort is wasted tracking down a problem that, in the end, is based on someone’s opinion but not borne out by the facts!

A classic example is: ‘The internet is slow today’.

The quick resolution of this is to: ‘Reboot the hub’.

Which has disturbed everyone in the business and caused some delays – maybe only for a few minutes, but still a disturbance.

What should and could be different?

Using this same example, run a speed test on the PC in question. Run a speed test on other PCs and if you notice a marked difference between the first PC and the rest, you have eliminated the hub as the cause.

That’s the key word in problem solving – ‘eliminate’.

When considering a problem, take the time to analyse all the possible causes and then proceed to eliminate them one by one.

Advance methodically by selecting those causes you think are most likely and eliminate them first. And if the first solution won’t solve the problem, you know what the original situation was and can come up with other possible causes to investigate.

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