We encounter problems every day in our personal and professional lives. It’s nothing new, and certainly nothing to be afraid of. Imagine if every time something unexpectedly bad happened, we just panicked and froze. It wouldn’t get us anywhere. Instead, we need to stay positive and work the elements to deal with our problems.
Element 1: A plan
We need a plan, well in advance of a problem. The better your plan, the fewer possibilities that problems will arise and create real trouble. This means thinking through everyone’s roles and having everyone on the same page about them, making sure there are clear goals that all stakeholders understand and, of course, a strategy with a clear destination.
Clarity, transparency and shared information are key here. If everyone knows what they are supposed to do and where they are heading, problem solving becomes easier and the likelihood of having issues decreases.
Element 2: Teamwork
Problem solving is very closely connected with teamwork. You need different people with different perspectives. Diversity is good. Different skillsets, backgrounds and experiences all help look at problems from different angles to allow you to come up with a better solution than you might alone.
Talk to your colleagues, get their take and see where that leads you. You can overcome generational and cultural blocks in perspective this way as well when you take the first step forward to listen to what others have to say. Working with your team to improve a problem solving process never stops.
Element 3: Innovation
We need to have a mindset to get out of our comfort zone and change the rules for looking at things. Otherwise, nothing new will happen and we will replicate programs and initiatives. Maybe we’ll lose opportunities to find something nicer or more beautiful that would potentially grow our membership or number of attendees for an event.
Even if something doesn’t work, is there something you can try differently? Can you explore other opportunities? Coming back to having a plan doesn’t mean managing all the unexpected elements because that’s impossible. There will always be something unexpected and you need to factor in risk management, but it’s absolutely necessary for the growth of an organization to stretch its limits and try new tricks.
Problems will always come up, but looking at them as opportunities for growth will help in the long run.
The final piece is to adopt a helicopter view every now and then; take a step back and look at the bigger picture. See if the elements align, and adjust them if they don’t. It’s part of the evolution and this will hopefully lead us to make a positive impact and find success.