Problem Solving

Problems are a part of life. If we did not have some kind of barrier, human beings would not learn to innovate, grow, and persevere beyond them. It is when problems become overwhelming, complex, and misunderstood, that creates stress and personal difficulties. Frequently the major problems in life are perceived as issues beyond our control. The key word here is perceived.

More times than not, the way we look at problems is the crucial element as to whether we persevere and manage the problem, or fall further into a problem which is most complex. Obviously, this simplifies the matter, and problems often cannot be explained in simple terms. The purpose of this discussion is how to mobilize your energies to address, and hopefully eventually solve problems. Below is a set of criteria that describes different kinds of problems.

1. The problem involves interactions with others and expectations.
2. The problem is perceived to be a certain way.
3. The problem has been created by a violation of responsibility, trust, or unfaithful behavior.
4. The problem is a natural consequence to societal expectations and generally recognized responsibility.
5. The problem is the result of something or someone changing.

Generally financial, personal and social problems include these elements. How do we tackle the situation when it arises? Below is a list of important steps that can be applied:

>Examine the root causes of the problem. Using the assumption that everything is a natural system, there is usually cause and effect in action somewhere.

>Evaluate your assumptions (beliefs) about the situation. Remember, the way you may be looking at the problem may be incorrect at first. Be able to test your assumptions to either validate or discard them. Keep the ones that can be backed up. Now you have a baseline for approaching the problem in a targeted way.

>Don’t guilt trip yourself, but truly examine the problem using the five elements noted above. Some of it you may own, other parts may be totally outside of your control.

>Now determine action steps that you can take to begin to intervene and resolve the problem. The intervention may require additional assistance from others, or simply some tangible changes from you. Remember, problems happen usually as part of cause and effect. Find the sequences in the system that can be modified.

>Conscious effort is required. Determine if the action plan requires you to eliminate an undesirable behavior, change a habit, or let go of something that is holding you back. All change should be socially respectful, lawful, and moral.

Apply this methodology the next time you have a complex problem. Evaluate the results. The approach is helpful on both an individual and organizational level.

20120209-144003.jpg (photo by: Doug Butchy @dougbutchy)


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