Many people see their problems as unwelcome aspects of their lives.
The first reality is :
Whoever you are, problems will come, issues will come, bad times will come, bad feelings will come. No matter how smart you are, how rich you are, how beautiful and pretty you are, you will face problems.
The second reality is :
Problems will not vanish and disappear by themselves, problems will not be solved without actions.
The third reality is :
Ignoring problems is the main cause of stress.
According to those three realities we can conclude that :To be happy aka zero stressed, we need to accept problems and solve them.
So what are the main steps for problem-solving ?
Determine the source(s) of the the problem
To carry out the 5 Whys analysis properly , you need to follow the steps bellow :
- Write down the problem and make sure that all the team members understand it;
- Ask Why the problem happens and write the answer down below the problem;
- Repeat the Step 2 until the team agrees that the problem’s root cause has been identified.
During the process, the team should distinguish causes from symptoms.
5 Whys example :
Here’s an example Toyota offers of a potential 5 Whys that might be used at one of their plants.
- Why did the robot stop ?
The circuit has overloaded, causing a fuse to blow.
- Why is the circuit overloaded ?
There was insufficient lubrication on the bearings, so they locked up.
- Why was there insufficient lubrication ?
The oil pump on the robot is not circulating sufficient oil.
- Why the pump is not circulating enough oil ?
The pump intake is clogged with metal shavings.
- Why is pump intake clogged with metal shavings ?
Because there is no filter on the pump.
Develop Alternative Solutions
Analytical, creative problem solving is about creating a variety of solutions, not just one. Often the most obvious answer is not the most effective solution to the problem. The team focuses on :
- Finding as many solutions to the problem;
- Looking at how each solution relates to the root cause and symptoms of the problem;
- Deciding if different solutions can be merged to give a better answer to the problem.
Select a Solution
In the fourth step, the team evaluates all the potential solutions, and narrow it down to one. This step applies two key questions :
- Which solution is most feasible?
- Which solution is favoured by those who will implement and use it?
Feasibility is asserted by deciding if a solution:
- Can be implemented within an acceptable timeframe?
- Is cost effective, reliable and realistic?
- Will make resource usage more effective?
- Its risks are manageable?
Implement the Solution
Finding a solution does not mean that the problem is solved. You still need to implement the solution, and that requires a plan of its own.
Even the best solutions often fail because of ineffective implementation, so a plan needs to include :
- Who and what will be affected;
- What resources are required;
Problem solving isn’t just about responding to (and fixing) the environment that exists today. It is also about innovating, creating new things and changing the environment to be more desirable. Problem-solving enables us to identify and exploit opportunities in the environment and exert (some level of) control over the future.
Problem solving skills and the problem-solving process are a critical part of daily life both as individuals and organizations. Developing and refining these skills through training, practice and learning can provide the ability to solve problems more effectively and over time address problems with a greater degree of complexity and difficulty.
Problem solving is only one of many others important lifelong skills to learn.