The Ten-Steps Process

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It takes only a minute of watching the news or listening to our Presidential Candidates vie for our votes, to become astutely aware that problems exist all around us. We are faced with them on large and small scales, at home, work, in our communities and in our world. Basically the bad news is... we cannot escape problems. Not such an uplifting message huh? But, here is what we can do; we can learn to solve them, both big and small, by approaching them with the right attitude.

This ten-step process is guaranteed to produce results. Remember to have fun and brainstorm each stage to construct a dynamic list of best possible outcomes!

Break it Down

Often times when we pause long enough, we can see that problems, like most things, can be broken
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A growing body of research suggests by changing our language about the problem we can actually change our thoughts and behaviors.

For instance, refer to the "problem" as a "challenge" or even an "opportunity," using language like this often encourages us to approach the notorious "p" word from an angle of creativity.

Define the Problem Clearly

This is oftentimes an overlooked step in the problem solving process. In order to fully understand the challenge, we need to take the time to understand everyone 's perception or experience of the problem. Every team member or person who comes in contact with the problem may experience it differently. Therefore, before we can begin to comprehend the situation we need to realize how far reaching it is and the impact it has on everyone.

Use Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking skills are very important to problem solving, yet, research has pointed to a decline in critical thinking skills over the past decade. With information so readily available on our digital devices, we can fall victim to allowing our phones, computers and I-Pads to do our thinking for us rather than engage that part of our
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What must the solution accomplish or take care of to be considered a great solution? If you have engaged this process methodically, this should be a relatively easy step as you will have determined the parameters of the problem and the problem will have been defined through the examination of critical thinking with all angles thoroughly explored. Therefore, by the time you arrive at this step, you will be able to recognize the "ideal" solution or solutions.

Determine the Obstacles

This is yet another step in the problem solving process I often times see overlooked. Obstacles have to be considered.

By allowing time to take each identified solution and "brainstorm" through all the worst case scenarios, we are literally fire testing our solution and making sure it can hold up under pressure. This process is critical and will save a huge amount of time and effort in the end.

Make a Choice

The question to ask yourself here is, given your understanding and definition of the problem, what provides the best possible solution at the "current time" under the "present circumstances?" The reason the preceding words are bolded here is to call attention to the fact that solutions may change over time and be rendered ineffective based on a new set of circumstances. For this reason, it is always good form as a leader to continually monitor and evaluate processes to assure optimal levels of

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