There are four basic steps in solving a problem: Steps 2 to 4 of this process are covered in depth in other areas of Mind Tools.
For these, see our sections on Creativity for step 2 (generating alternatives); Decision Making for step 3 (evaluating and selecting alternatives); and Project Management for step 4 (implementing solutions).
The Drill Down technique will help you split your problem into smaller parts, each of which can then be solved appropriately.
The four-step approach to solving problems that we mentioned at the beginning of this article will serve you well in many situations.
Simplex involves an eight-stage process: problem finding, fact finding, defining the problem, idea finding, selecting and evaluating, planning, selling the idea, and acting.
These steps build upon the basic process described earlier, and they create a cycle of problem finding and solving that will continually improve your organization.Using our example of substandard work, Cause-and-Effect diagrams would highlight that a lack of training could contribute to the problem, and they could also highlight possible causes such as work overload and problems with technology.When your problem occurs within a business process, creating a Flow Chart that's causing your problem.The good news is that there are numerous tools you can use to make sense of this tangled mess!Many of these help you create a clear visual representation of the situation, so that you can better understand what's going on. To generate viable solutions, you must have a solid understanding of what's causing the problem.Appreciative Inquiry is designed to help you understand complex problems so that you can start the process of solving them.It uses four stages to help you uncover more details about what's creating the problem, and then define actions that will improve the situation.Using established tools and techniques will help you improve your approach to solving the problems that your team and your organization face.You'll be more successful at solving problems and, because of this, more successful at what you do.For example, consider this problem statement: "We have to find a way of disciplining of people who do substandard work." This doesn't allow you the opportunity of discovering the real reasons for under-performance.The CATWOE checklist provides a powerful reminder to look at many elements that may contribute to the problem, and to expand your thinking around it.