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Karen

Build your Team’s Problem Solving Skills

There are three main skill sets that ensure success in business: people skills, technology skills and problem-solving skills.
Problem-solving is a high level thinking skill. It involves accurately assessing an issue, identifying potential solutions and choosing the most effective solutions to implement. Building the problem solving skills of your team benefits your business by boosting productivity, improving teamwork and giving your team the ability to deliver results which stand out from the norm.

In this months Great Minds Think Differently article we discuss building team problem solving skills in depth. To receive the complete feature sign up for the series by e mailing us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with Great Minds Think Differently in the header and we will send you a copy of each months article.

In the meantime, here are our top tips to building a team’s ability to find brilliant solutions to problems easily and quickly

From Eleanor Shakiba (author of Difficult People Made Easy)

  • Stop debating and start creating – teams spend too much time debating issues and need to move on, it’s a bad habit. Use solution focused brainstorming to break the debating habit.
  • Take your Brainstorm out of the Boardroom – to foster creativity you need to be in the right environment, which is not usually where you have your usual meetings. People anchor strongly to their environments so change it if you want them to think differently.

From Karen Meager (author of Real Leaders for the Real World)

  • Peoples’ problem solving abilities diminish when they are stressed. Make sure you set and maintain a blame free frame for problem solving if you want people to actively contribute rather than blame, justify and explain.
  • Come up with a range of problem solving approaches that suit both introverts and extraverts. Extraverts like to talk things out whereas introverts need to reflect and think things through, both make excellent problems solvers but usually introverts are pushed to the background in problem solving situations. Using post it notes to get people to brainstorm causes and ideas can help introverts to contribute fully.

From John Mclachlan (author of Real Leaders for the Real World)

Leaders generally have two major problems with problems solving

  1. They accept a cause which is too simplistic. If it’s a complex problem, it will have a complex cause, look beyond the obvious or the first thing or you will be fixing the wrong problem.
  2. The don’t focus on the outcome. Instead of looking for a solution to the specific problem, think about what you want instead. This takes your thinking beyond the problem which is a more strategic way to move a business forward.
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