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Problem Solving Articles Index

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Word Count: 828

The Top 10 Characteristics of Effective Problem Solvers


ave you ever noticed that some people seem to be natural born problem solvers? Look closer, and you’ll discover that problem solving is more a skill than a gift. Effective problem solvers share ten common characteristics.

1.         They have an “attitude”!

Simply expressed, effective problem solvers invariably see problems as opportunities, a chance to learn something new, to grow, to succeed where others have failed, or to prove that “it can be done”.  Underlying these attitudes is a deeply held conviction that, with adequate…

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Word Count: 637

Even Crazy Problems Deserve Your Attention!

A complaint was received by the Pontiac Division of General Motors:

"This is the second time I have written you, and I don't blame you for not answering me, because I kind of sound crazy, but it is a fact that we have a tradition in our family of ice cream for dessert after dinner each night. But the kind of ice cream varies so, every night, after we've eaten, the whole family votes on which kind of ice cream we should have and I drive down to the store to get it. It's also a fact that I recently purchased a new Pontiac and since then my trips to the store have created a problem. You see, every time I buy ...

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Word Count: 163

A One-Minute Problem Solver

When you want people at your next meeting to think creatively to solve a problem, watch your language. How you frame a problem can make it more difficult for others to think creatively.

Here’s a one-minute exercise from creativity expert Michael Michalko that highlights the difference:

q         Display to your group these...

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Word Count: 162


Work on low-ranking problems. It's very likely that the most important issues are being taken care of by everyone, so they become generic. What you're looking for are problems that you can solve that others are not dealing with. They will often be lower-ranked problems, but annoying enough to be...

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Word Count: 135

Problem Solving

A Quick Fix

My company recently introduced a new product and it was supported by a great launch strategy. We had marketing efforts that were terrific. We had print ads, TV commercials and celebrity endorsements. Everything was great.

Two months later, customers started to complain and worse yet they began to return the products. Nearly one half of all sales were returned in the third and fourth months.

Management was worried and called a special meeting to...

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Word Count: 302

A Quick Problem-Solving Strategy

One simple and effective technique will help you solve most of the difficulties your team runs into. Follow these steps:

1. Define the problem. Do some research and include all the details. If a series of tasks was mishandled, include notes on each job and try to pinpoint where each error occurred.

2. Brainstorm possible causes. List the...

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Word Count: 684

Learning to Deal With Difficult People

THE BOTTOM LINE: Difficult people can make your work day less enjoyable. With the right strategies, you can learn to deal with them effectively.

If you have to work with difficult people every day, you probably dread going to work each morning. What's more, you might get so stressed that you can't concentrate on the job.

Have you ever wondered why some people are difficult to work with?

“Individuals behave in a difficult manner because they have learned that doing so keeps others off balance and incapable of effective action. Worst of all, they appear immune to all the usual methods of communication and persuasion designed to convince or help them change ...

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Word Count: 378

Leveraging Competencies

I recently came across an article in the publication Business 2.0 that caught me off guard. It outlined a new service that UPS was now getting involved with through its' Supply Chain Solutions group. I was originally prepared to read about some new parcel shipping innovation but the article talked about UPS getting into the laptop computer repair business.

Where did that come from? Out of left field? Maybe I read the article wrong?

Actually what the article talked about was a new program that UPS and Toshiba have worked out to have a facility operated by UPS right next to a UPS air hub that repairs notebook computers. The discovery here was that...

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Word Count: 288

Take action before hostility festers

We’ve all heard of road rage and air rage, but the newest trend seems to be desk rage.

Hostility in the workplace must be dealt with immediately. If it’s not, the results can be disastrous.

Hostility can arise when complaints are ignored. Managers stall, thinking a disagreement will blow over. Meanwhile, employees grow resentful of management’s perceived neglect. Even when a situation doesn’t blow up, the damage to workplace morale and productivity can be harmful. Take these steps to defuse workplace hostility:

• Interview those who are directly involved in a dispute, as well as any...

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Word Count: 313

“5 Tips For Dealing With Angry Customers and Co-Workers”


n every business, mistakes happen and co-workers or customers get angry. But when a problem is fixed properly and stays fixed--loyalty actually increases!

 Here are five steps you can take to not only resolve the problem but also actually build loyalty with your co-workers and customers. In fact, you can use these steps to deal with anger and build positive relationships in all areas of your life.

1. LISTEN carefully to the person who is angry. Active listening requires a lot of effort and cannot be accomplished when we're distracted. You need to stop everything you are doing and give your customer 100% of your attention.

2. EMPATHIZE with the other person’s concerns. Let him or her know...

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Word Count: 185


Stop employees from protecting their turf


mployees who won't share work or information with co-workers can drag down your entire staff. Help territorial employees loosen their "turf" grip with these steps: 

· Describe how their behavior affects the organization's goals. Example: "To help process orders within 24 hours-which is our top service priority this year-we periodically will need to see your order-summary reports, Eugene. When you don't share them, we can't monitor our progress."

· Explain the importance of shared responsibility. Today's organizations can't afford not to share information and institutional knowledge. Discuss with territorial employees the need to share information about their work so that someone else could complete simple tasks in their absence.

· Show how...

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Word Count: 555

We’re Working On the Wrong End of the Problem!

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”            Alvin Toffler, Futurist

Today, like never before... you must be open to change to be successful. You and your organization must constantly change and evolve to survive. You’ve heard it…we face more change in a year than our grandparents faced in a lifetime. For us that means Technology, Customers, Markets and Competitors.

HOWEVER; most people (even entrepreneurs) choose death over change.

In Change or Die, Alan Deutschman asks, “What if you were given that choice? We're talking actual life and death now. Your own life and death. What if a well-informed, trusted authority figure said you had to make difficult and enduring changes in the way you think, feel and act? If you didn't, your time would end soon--a lot sooner than it had to. Could you change when change mattered most?"

THE BAD NEWS: Although we all have the ...

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