Lesson 13 – The Problem Solving Process
The Problem Solving Process
The Six Steps
There are six steps to solving problems efficiently.
1. Define the Problem
- Discuss symptoms (especially if problem is unknown).
- Discuss size (or seriousness) and impact (effect) of problem.
- Determine the exact wording of the problem in question form.
- Define terms in the question.
2. Research and Analyse the Problem
- List topics that need to be researched or discussed, including causes and past efforts to solve the problem.
- Research the problem if necessary.
- Discuss the research in an organised way.
- State the first topic to be discussed.
- Give all the members a chance to refer to their research and state their opinion on the topic.
- Ask if anyone has anything further to say on the topic.
- Summarise the group’s findings on the topic.
- State the next subject to be discussed and repeat the procedure until all the topics have been examined.
3. Establish a Checklist of Criteria
- List all possible criteria and give everyone a chance to respond.
- Discuss each condition.
- Reduce the list to a workable length by combining criteria where possible.
- Categorise/list remaining criteria from most to least important.
4. List Possible Alternatives
- Think outside the box.
- These are just possibilities, so list anything that comes to mind.
5. Evaluate Each Alternative
- Read through the list of alternatives, eliminating those that the group feels obviously do not meet the criteria agreed on in the third step.
- Reduce the list further by combining any similar alternatives.
- Discuss each remaining alternative’s strengths and weaknesses (referring to research presented in the second step when necessary).
- Determine how well each alternative meets the criteria- number of criteria met and importance of criteria met.
- Continue reducing the list until the best alternative (or alternatives) is reached.
6. Select the Best Alternative(s) as Your Solution and Discuss How to Implement It /Them
- Make sure you consider all people involved.
- You may want to develop contingency plans.
There are also some simple ways of resolving a conflict.
- Competitive: I actively seek to get my own way.
- Avoidant: I seek to avoid the conflict situation.
- Accommodative: I seek to work out a mutually satisfying relationship with others.
- Collaborative: I seek to work out a mutually satisfying solution with others.
- Compromising: I seek to work out a solution in which we each give up a little to get some components of what we want.
Seven Steps to Customer Problem Solving
Let’s look at the specific steps we would take to resolve a customer’s problem.
- Express respect
- Listen to understand
- Uncover the expectations
- Repeat the specifics
- Look for possible solutions
- Take action and follow through
- Double check for satisfaction