10 steps to solve any problem

Problems in life are something inevitable, and the more we have of them and based on our capacity to deal with them we can develop what is called experience.

What we call problems are the things that happen different to our expectations. For example, if you are at your job and the result of the project you were working on did not come as you expected that you call a problem and you stare an analysis process that helps you fix it or find the lessons learned.

Today we can fly rockets up into space, we reached the moon and soon Mars since back in the 50s and 60s the scientific institutions tried so many launches, astronauts died in flight and that was all huge problems that the scientists faced and learned from these problems until we got to where we are today.

Here below is a process that is a result of years of study and observation from some of the biggest problems that successful people faced, and we can use these steps and apply them into any future problem we face at the job, business, relationships etc.…:

Step 1- DEFINE: 

When we face a problem, the first thing that happens is the emotional response inside of us. The emotion that develops inside dictate the meaning that we will give to this problem. Most people think they can’t control their emotions, and this is where this first step come into action.

When faced with a problem you must define this problem as objectively as possible and describe what has happened regardless of how you feel about it or what does mean to you. I know that you might be thinking but this is the challenging part for me, and I agree with you it is very challenging, I just want you for a moment to imagine any problem you had and think of it after you solved it, it must be feeling good now that you are imagining it, you might be saying, how stupid I acted that I got angry or sad etc.… 

So just remember this first step that a problem well stated is a problem half solved.

Step 2- WRITE DOWN 

In the first step you took the decision to define the problem, now the second step and this is a vital step is to write down everything you know about the problem. A pen and a paper are still you best friend at any situation you might have, the pen will always draw on the paper whatever your mind dictates, so when you have a problem put everything on that paper. The first thing that will happen is that by writing it you are removing the weight of the problem from your mind into the paper, it will also give you the capacity to see the whole picture and start working on different pieces of the problem one at a time.

Step 3- PEOPLE INVOLVED

On that paper where you described the problem set another paper and write down the list of people or organization that are recognized authorities and are involved in this problem. Whether they are colleagues at work that worked on the project, a client that is not satisfied with the results, a wife or husband that is angry with you, a child that is having issues at school, etc.… whatever the problem is include the people that have influence and see who an active part of the solution will be and who you need to keep into consideration while solving it.

This list can also include people who can help you solve the problem that are external, for example a coach or a mentor, an agency or a consultant, another company that delivers this type of solutions.

Step 4- PERSONAL BRAINSTORMING

You wrote the problem in detailed objective definition, you wrote all the people involved, now it is time for your beautiful mind to start juicing ideas and options for the solutions that you might think possible. Remember one important point that if you have one option, you really do not have a choice, if you have two options then you have a dilemma, because you can choose either one or the other and that puts a lot of pressure on which to choose. If you have 3 options or more then you have a choice and you decide properly when analyzing on what could be more possible for you.

I just want you to keep in mind that in this step we are not deciding we are taking our own thoughts on it and we must keep on moving forward with the steps as we will rate everything at a later stage.

To help you on your brain storming journey here are four rules that can help you better put your thoughts together:

1- No negativity allowed: when brainstorming you must block out all the negative ideas that might pop into your head, you must keep a positive perspective on anything you write down

2- Wilder is Better: Yes, allow your mind think of any potential solution for this and dive into the imagination of the possibilities that can be in front of you.

3- More is Better: this relates to the options thought you read above, put down as many ideas as you can.

4- Combinations & Improvement is what you are looking for: you must keep in mind that the objective will be to see all the possibilities and then see how you could put it all together

Step -5 REACH OUT

Once you have all the list start including the people involved and go out there to seek help from who can possibly help. Never shy away from asking for help, seek advice, hire a service, and talk to people about the possible solutions for this problem and REMEMBER, keep all their opinions in writing so you can review them at the end of your research.

Step 6- GROUP BRAINSTORM: 

After all the individual brainstorming and the reaching out, it is time to gather your team, by team I mean the people directly involved in the possible solutions of this problem. And just as before explaining the rules to your team and start the session.

Step 7- RATINGS

You have done everything, all the ideas and possible solutions or scenarios are on the table you need to rate every option you wrote down. For the rating you can use two main scales, the scale of Effectiveness and the scale of Facility and here is what you can do:

  • The scale of Effectiveness defines the level that the solution suggested can deliver impact on the results wanted so rate each of the options with: Very Effective, Probably Effective, and doubtful.
  • The scale of Facility: this one will help you see how easy it is to apply this option so you can rate each option as:

Easy, Not so easy, difficult

Once you have rated all the options, list only ideas that have high ratings. Then estimate the time and cost involved in implementing each of these ideas. When you find the idea that is best for effectiveness, facility, time, and cost then….

Step 8- ACTION PLAN

write it on a separate page the schedule that you will need with all the tasks and deadlines to achieve the final solution of this problem. and to give you a simple and super effective way to do a schedule: “Start Backwards” yes, start by writing the final result you desire to achieve with its deadline and then say to yourself, in order to have that happening what would be the step before that, and then ask the same until you reach where you are now and you will be able to see a full plan for your idea.

Step 9- DECISION

Everything is ready, your best option and your plan, now it is time to answer the questions:

who does what? When it might be done? Where to start? What is the best way to do it?

Remember this is a part where you must be effective because the last step is the one that will launch everything, and from the experience of some phenomenal leaders in the world, they all share the same thought that in making decisions you rarely have certainty, you only depend on the possibilities and your intuition to take that decision.

Step 10- TAKE MASSIVE ACTION

Yes, MASSIVE, anything you do in life is an action, and there are four types of action: no action, average action, right action and then there is Massive action. Massive means that after you have done all the research, all the analysis and planned it all, go all in and do what ever it takes to achieve the result you want. Make a definite time and date when you must put your solution to work.

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