Regardless of whether it is managing a business or creating a startup, issues arise. How do you respond when dilemmas presents themselves in professional settings? It all boils down to how sharp your problem solving skills are.

In fact, a business venture is about coming up with practical solutions to satisfy the customer’s needs efficiently. Whereas some people are good at it, some are not. Of course many people think that problem solving is a birthright and that you are naturally born an expert. This is not the case.

To become a problem solver, you need to learn, acquire some skills and master the art of dealing with varied situations. Sometimes, it is just about coming up with a well-thought-out strategy for every problem.

Below are five things you need to do to become an expert problem solver. Check them out:

Be open-minded

Even if they seem ridiculous at first, you need to be open to all possibilities. Entertaining several ideas gives room for your brain to come up with possible solutions. What may appear to be the probable cause of the problem may not even be related to the problem.

Further, your beliefs on the matter and everything about it could be entirely wrong. Change your assumptions. It does not necessarily mean that you must agree with them, but having several perspectives will point you in the right direction.

Detach yourself from the problem

It is a fact. Human beings are naturally biased. At first glimpse of a situation, you judge and quickly align yourself to one angle of the problem subconsciously. Depending on the magnitude, a problem can be scary, but it is merely an indicator that something is not right. You need to change your thinking so that you can come up with strategies to find a new way around the problem.

Ask the right questions

There is no point in making a decision without asking all the right questions. As you will later discover, this is a technique that you perfect with time.

  • What are the implications/causes of the problem?
  • How does the plan actualize?
  • How effective is it?
  • Why did we get here?

Questions help minimize assumptions. Try as much as you can to ask the pertinent questions and provide reasonable answers, with proof where necessary to back up the available options.

Do not panic

This is the real test of problem solving. Do you panic or remain calm when a problem arises?

Astute problem solvers know that you have to keep yourself collected when you are faced with a problem. When you learn to be calm, you are more creative, and you can think clearly. If you find yourself in panic mode, stop moving or pacing around and focus on your breathing. Breathe in and out with your hands relaxed.

Implement a plan of action.

The execution of your thoughts determines your success rate or failure. Let it be a systematic process where the essentials are covered every time, with decisions that are thought out, planned and executed logically.

A checklist, where applicable, is an excellent way show the team that they are achieving their goals one step at a time and moving away from challenges and obstacles.

On a side note, you need to know that the greatest problem solver never gives up. This person will keep on searching and looking for the underlying cause of the problem and come up with a beautiful, practical and elegant solution that works.