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26 Good Examples of Problem Solving (Interview Answers)

By Biron Clark

Published: November 15, 2023

Employers like to hire people who can solve problems and work well under pressure. A job rarely goes 100% according to plan, so hiring managers will be more likely to hire you if you seem like you can handle unexpected challenges while staying calm and logical in your approach.

But how do they measure this?

They’re going to ask you interview questions about these problem solving skills, and they might also look for examples of problem solving on your resume and cover letter. So coming up, I’m going to share a list of examples of problem solving, whether you’re an experienced job seeker or recent graduate.

Then I’ll share sample interview answers to, “Give an example of a time you used logic to solve a problem?”

Problem-Solving Defined

It is the ability to identify the problem, prioritize based on gravity and urgency, analyze the root cause, gather relevant information, develop and evaluate viable solutions, decide on the most effective and logical solution, and plan and execute implementation. 

Problem-solving also involves critical thinking, communication, listening, creativity, research, data gathering, risk assessment, continuous learning, decision-making, and other soft and technical skills.

Solving problems not only prevent losses or damages but also boosts self-confidence and reputation when you successfully execute it. The spotlight shines on you when people see you handle issues with ease and savvy despite the challenges. Your ability and potential to be a future leader that can take on more significant roles and tackle bigger setbacks shine through. Problem-solving is a skill you can master by learning from others and acquiring wisdom from their and your own experiences. 

It takes a village to come up with solutions, but a good problem solver can steer the team towards the best choice and implement it to achieve the desired result.

Watch: 26 Good Examples of Problem Solving

Examples of problem solving scenarios in the workplace.

  • Correcting a mistake at work, whether it was made by you or someone else
  • Overcoming a delay at work through problem solving and communication
  • Resolving an issue with a difficult or upset customer
  • Overcoming issues related to a limited budget, and still delivering good work through the use of creative problem solving
  • Overcoming a scheduling/staffing shortage in the department to still deliver excellent work
  • Troubleshooting and resolving technical issues
  • Handling and resolving a conflict with a coworker
  • Solving any problems related to money, customer billing, accounting and bookkeeping, etc.
  • Taking initiative when another team member overlooked or missed something important
  • Taking initiative to meet with your superior to discuss a problem before it became potentially worse
  • Solving a safety issue at work or reporting the issue to those who could solve it
  • Using problem solving abilities to reduce/eliminate a company expense
  • Finding a way to make the company more profitable through new service or product offerings, new pricing ideas, promotion and sale ideas, etc.
  • Changing how a process, team, or task is organized to make it more efficient
  • Using creative thinking to come up with a solution that the company hasn’t used before
  • Performing research to collect data and information to find a new solution to a problem
  • Boosting a company or team’s performance by improving some aspect of communication among employees
  • Finding a new piece of data that can guide a company’s decisions or strategy better in a certain area

Problem Solving Examples for Recent Grads/Entry Level Job Seekers

  • Coordinating work between team members in a class project
  • Reassigning a missing team member’s work to other group members in a class project
  • Adjusting your workflow on a project to accommodate a tight deadline
  • Speaking to your professor to get help when you were struggling or unsure about a project
  • Asking classmates, peers, or professors for help in an area of struggle
  • Talking to your academic advisor to brainstorm solutions to a problem you were facing
  • Researching solutions to an academic problem online, via Google or other methods
  • Using problem solving and creative thinking to obtain an internship or other work opportunity during school after struggling at first

You can share all of the examples above when you’re asked questions about problem solving in your interview. As you can see, even if you have no professional work experience, it’s possible to think back to problems and unexpected challenges that you faced in your studies and discuss how you solved them.

Interview Answers to “Give an Example of an Occasion When You Used Logic to Solve a Problem”

Now, let’s look at some sample interview answers to, “Give me an example of a time you used logic to solve a problem,” since you’re likely to hear this interview question in all sorts of industries.

Example Answer 1:

At my current job, I recently solved a problem where a client was upset about our software pricing. They had misunderstood the sales representative who explained pricing originally, and when their package renewed for its second month, they called to complain about the invoice. I apologized for the confusion and then spoke to our billing team to see what type of solution we could come up with. We decided that the best course of action was to offer a long-term pricing package that would provide a discount. This not only solved the problem but got the customer to agree to a longer-term contract, which means we’ll keep their business for at least one year now, and they’re happy with the pricing. I feel I got the best possible outcome and the way I chose to solve the problem was effective.

Example Answer 2:

In my last job, I had to do quite a bit of problem solving related to our shift scheduling. We had four people quit within a week and the department was severely understaffed. I coordinated a ramp-up of our hiring efforts, I got approval from the department head to offer bonuses for overtime work, and then I found eight employees who were willing to do overtime this month. I think the key problem solving skills here were taking initiative, communicating clearly, and reacting quickly to solve this problem before it became an even bigger issue.

Example Answer 3:

In my current marketing role, my manager asked me to come up with a solution to our declining social media engagement. I assessed our current strategy and recent results, analyzed what some of our top competitors were doing, and then came up with an exact blueprint we could follow this year to emulate our best competitors but also stand out and develop a unique voice as a brand. I feel this is a good example of using logic to solve a problem because it was based on analysis and observation of competitors, rather than guessing or quickly reacting to the situation without reliable data. I always use logic and data to solve problems when possible. The project turned out to be a success and we increased our social media engagement by an average of 82% by the end of the year.

Answering Questions About Problem Solving with the STAR Method

When you answer interview questions about problem solving scenarios, or if you decide to demonstrate your problem solving skills in a cover letter (which is a good idea any time the job description mention problem solving as a necessary skill), I recommend using the STAR method to tell your story.

STAR stands for:

It’s a simple way of walking the listener or reader through the story in a way that will make sense to them. So before jumping in and talking about the problem that needed solving, make sure to describe the general situation. What job/company were you working at? When was this? Then, you can describe the task at hand and the problem that needed solving. After this, describe the course of action you chose and why. Ideally, show that you evaluated all the information you could given the time you had, and made a decision based on logic and fact.

Finally, describe a positive result you got.

Whether you’re answering interview questions about problem solving or writing a cover letter, you should only choose examples where you got a positive result and successfully solved the issue.

Example answer:

Situation : We had an irate client who was a social media influencer and had impossible delivery time demands we could not meet. She spoke negatively about us in her vlog and asked her followers to boycott our products. (Task : To develop an official statement to explain our company’s side, clarify the issue, and prevent it from getting out of hand). Action : I drafted a statement that balanced empathy, understanding, and utmost customer service with facts, logic, and fairness. It was direct, simple, succinct, and phrased to highlight our brand values while addressing the issue in a logical yet sensitive way.   We also tapped our influencer partners to subtly and indirectly share their positive experiences with our brand so we could counter the negative content being shared online.  Result : We got the results we worked for through proper communication and a positive and strategic campaign. The irate client agreed to have a dialogue with us. She apologized to us, and we reaffirmed our commitment to delivering quality service to all. We assured her that she can reach out to us anytime regarding her purchases and that we’d gladly accommodate her requests whenever possible. She also retracted her negative statements in her vlog and urged her followers to keep supporting our brand.

What Are Good Outcomes of Problem Solving?

Whenever you answer interview questions about problem solving or share examples of problem solving in a cover letter, you want to be sure you’re sharing a positive outcome.

Below are good outcomes of problem solving:

  • Saving the company time or money
  • Making the company money
  • Pleasing/keeping a customer
  • Obtaining new customers
  • Solving a safety issue
  • Solving a staffing/scheduling issue
  • Solving a logistical issue
  • Solving a company hiring issue
  • Solving a technical/software issue
  • Making a process more efficient and faster for the company
  • Creating a new business process to make the company more profitable
  • Improving the company’s brand/image/reputation
  • Getting the company positive reviews from customers/clients

Every employer wants to make more money, save money, and save time. If you can assess your problem solving experience and think about how you’ve helped past employers in those three areas, then that’s a great start. That’s where I recommend you begin looking for stories of times you had to solve problems.

Tips to Improve Your Problem Solving Skills

Throughout your career, you’re going to get hired for better jobs and earn more money if you can show employers that you’re a problem solver. So to improve your problem solving skills, I recommend always analyzing a problem and situation before acting. When discussing problem solving with employers, you never want to sound like you rush or make impulsive decisions. They want to see fact-based or data-based decisions when you solve problems.

Next, to get better at solving problems, analyze the outcomes of past solutions you came up with. You can recognize what works and what doesn’t. Think about how you can get better at researching and analyzing a situation, but also how you can get better at communicating, deciding the right people in the organization to talk to and “pull in” to help you if needed, etc.

Finally, practice staying calm even in stressful situations. Take a few minutes to walk outside if needed. Step away from your phone and computer to clear your head. A work problem is rarely so urgent that you cannot take five minutes to think (with the possible exception of safety problems), and you’ll get better outcomes if you solve problems by acting logically instead of rushing to react in a panic.

You can use all of the ideas above to describe your problem solving skills when asked interview questions about the topic. If you say that you do the things above, employers will be impressed when they assess your problem solving ability.

If you practice the tips above, you’ll be ready to share detailed, impressive stories and problem solving examples that will make hiring managers want to offer you the job. Every employer appreciates a problem solver, whether solving problems is a requirement listed on the job description or not. And you never know which hiring manager or interviewer will ask you about a time you solved a problem, so you should always be ready to discuss this when applying for a job.

Related interview questions & answers:

  • How do you handle stress?
  • How do you handle conflict?
  • Tell me about a time when you failed

Biron Clark

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Workplace problem-solving examples: real scenarios, practical solutions.

  • March 11, 2024

In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing work environment, problems are inevitable. From conflicts among employees to high levels of stress, workplace problems can significantly impact productivity and overall well-being. However, by developing the art of problem-solving and implementing practical solutions, organizations can effectively tackle these challenges and foster a positive work culture. In this article, we will delve into various workplace problem scenarios and explore strategies for resolution. By understanding common workplace problems and acquiring essential problem-solving skills, individuals and organizations can navigate these challenges with confidence and success.

Men in Hardhats

Understanding Workplace Problems

Before we can effectively solve workplace problems , it is essential to gain a clear understanding of the issues at hand. Identifying common workplace problems is the first step toward finding practical solutions. By recognizing these challenges, organizations can develop targeted strategies and initiatives to address them.

Identifying Common Workplace Problems

One of the most common workplace problems is conflict. Whether it stems from differences in opinions, miscommunication, or personality clashes, conflict can disrupt collaboration and hinder productivity. It is important to note that conflict is a natural part of any workplace, as individuals with different backgrounds and perspectives come together to work towards a common goal. However, when conflict is not managed effectively, it can escalate and create a toxic work environment.

In addition to conflict, workplace stress and burnout pose significant challenges. High workloads, tight deadlines, and a lack of work-life balance can all contribute to employee stress and dissatisfaction. When employees are overwhelmed and exhausted, their performance and overall well-being are compromised. This not only affects the individuals directly, but it also has a ripple effect on the entire organization.

Another common workplace problem is poor communication. Ineffective communication can lead to misunderstandings, delays, and errors. It can also create a sense of confusion and frustration among employees. Clear and open communication is vital for successful collaboration and the smooth functioning of any organization.

The Impact of Workplace Problems on Productivity

Workplace problems can have a detrimental effect on productivity levels. When conflicts are left unresolved, they can create a tense work environment, leading to decreased employee motivation and engagement. The negative energy generated by unresolved conflicts can spread throughout the organization, affecting team dynamics and overall performance.

Similarly, high levels of stress and burnout can result in decreased productivity, as individuals may struggle to focus and perform optimally. When employees are constantly under pressure and overwhelmed, their ability to think creatively and problem-solve diminishes. This can lead to a decline in the quality of work produced and an increase in errors and inefficiencies.

Poor communication also hampers productivity. When information is not effectively shared or understood, it can lead to misunderstandings, delays, and rework. This not only wastes time and resources but also creates frustration and demotivation among employees.

Furthermore, workplace problems can negatively impact employee morale and job satisfaction. When individuals are constantly dealing with conflicts, stress, and poor communication, their overall job satisfaction and engagement suffer. This can result in higher turnover rates, as employees seek a healthier and more supportive work environment.

In conclusion, workplace problems such as conflict, stress, burnout, and poor communication can significantly hinder productivity and employee well-being. Organizations must address these issues promptly and proactively to create a positive and productive work atmosphere. By fostering open communication, providing support for stress management, and promoting conflict resolution strategies, organizations can create a work environment that encourages collaboration, innovation, and employee satisfaction.

Office Supplies

The Art of Problem Solving in the Workplace

Now that we have a clear understanding of workplace problems, let’s explore the essential skills necessary for effective problem-solving in the workplace. By developing these skills and adopting a proactive approach, individuals can tackle problems head-on and find practical solutions.

Problem-solving in the workplace is a complex and multifaceted skill that requires a combination of analytical thinking, creativity, and effective communication. It goes beyond simply identifying problems and extends to finding innovative solutions that address the root causes.

Essential Problem-Solving Skills for the Workplace

To effectively solve workplace problems, individuals should possess a range of skills. These include strong analytical and critical thinking abilities, excellent communication and interpersonal skills, the ability to collaborate and work well in a team, and the capacity to adapt to change. By honing these skills, individuals can approach workplace problems with confidence and creativity.

Analytical and critical thinking skills are essential for problem-solving in the workplace. They involve the ability to gather and analyze relevant information, identify patterns and trends, and make logical connections. These skills enable individuals to break down complex problems into manageable components and develop effective strategies to solve them.

Effective communication and interpersonal skills are also crucial for problem-solving in the workplace. These skills enable individuals to clearly articulate their thoughts and ideas, actively listen to others, and collaborate effectively with colleagues. By fostering open and honest communication channels, individuals can better understand the root causes of problems and work towards finding practical solutions.

Collaboration and teamwork are essential for problem-solving in the workplace. By working together, individuals can leverage their diverse skills, knowledge, and perspectives to generate innovative solutions. Collaboration fosters a supportive and inclusive environment where everyone’s ideas are valued, leading to more effective problem-solving outcomes.

The ability to adapt to change is another important skill for problem-solving in the workplace. In today’s fast-paced and dynamic work environment, problems often arise due to changes in technology, processes, or market conditions. Individuals who can embrace change and adapt quickly are better equipped to find solutions that address the evolving needs of the organization.

The Role of Communication in Problem Solving

Communication is a key component of effective problem-solving in the workplace. By fostering open and honest communication channels, individuals can better understand the root causes of problems and work towards finding practical solutions. Active listening, clear and concise articulation of thoughts and ideas, and the ability to empathize are all valuable communication skills that facilitate problem-solving.

Active listening involves fully engaging with the speaker, paying attention to both verbal and non-verbal cues, and seeking clarification when necessary. By actively listening, individuals can gain a deeper understanding of the problem at hand and the perspectives of others involved. This understanding is crucial for developing comprehensive and effective solutions.

Clear and concise articulation of thoughts and ideas is essential for effective problem-solving communication. By expressing oneself clearly, individuals can ensure that their ideas are understood by others. This clarity helps to avoid misunderstandings and promotes effective collaboration.

Empathy is a valuable communication skill that plays a significant role in problem-solving. By putting oneself in the shoes of others and understanding their emotions and perspectives, individuals can build trust and rapport. This empathetic connection fosters a supportive and collaborative environment where everyone feels valued and motivated to contribute to finding solutions.

In conclusion, problem-solving in the workplace requires a combination of essential skills such as analytical thinking, effective communication, collaboration, and adaptability. By honing these skills and fostering open communication channels, individuals can approach workplace problems with confidence and creativity, leading to practical and innovative solutions.

Real Scenarios of Workplace Problems

Now, let’s explore some real scenarios of workplace problems and delve into strategies for resolution. By examining these practical examples, individuals can develop a deeper understanding of how to approach and solve workplace problems.

Conflict Resolution in the Workplace

Imagine a scenario where two team members have conflicting ideas on how to approach a project. The disagreement becomes heated, leading to a tense work environment. To resolve this conflict, it is crucial to encourage open dialogue between the team members. Facilitating a calm and respectful conversation can help uncover underlying concerns and find common ground. Collaboration and compromise are key in reaching a resolution that satisfies all parties involved.

In this particular scenario, let’s dive deeper into the dynamics between the team members. One team member, let’s call her Sarah, strongly believes that a more conservative and traditional approach is necessary for the project’s success. On the other hand, her colleague, John, advocates for a more innovative and out-of-the-box strategy. The clash between their perspectives arises from their different backgrounds and experiences.

As the conflict escalates, it is essential for a neutral party, such as a team leader or a mediator, to step in and facilitate the conversation. This person should create a safe space for both Sarah and John to express their ideas and concerns without fear of judgment or retribution. By actively listening to each other, they can gain a better understanding of the underlying motivations behind their respective approaches.

During the conversation, it may become apparent that Sarah’s conservative approach stems from a fear of taking risks and a desire for stability. On the other hand, John’s innovative mindset is driven by a passion for pushing boundaries and finding creative solutions. Recognizing these underlying motivations can help foster empathy and create a foundation for collaboration.

As the dialogue progresses, Sarah and John can begin to identify areas of overlap and potential compromise. They may realize that while Sarah’s conservative approach provides stability, John’s innovative ideas can inject fresh perspectives into the project. By combining their strengths and finding a middle ground, they can develop a hybrid strategy that incorporates both stability and innovation.

Ultimately, conflict resolution in the workplace requires effective communication, active listening, empathy, and a willingness to find common ground. By addressing conflicts head-on and fostering a collaborative environment, teams can overcome challenges and achieve their goals.

Dealing with Workplace Stress and Burnout

Workplace stress and burnout can be debilitating for individuals and organizations alike. In this scenario, an employee is consistently overwhelmed by their workload and experiencing signs of burnout. To address this issue, organizations should promote a healthy work-life balance and provide resources to manage stress effectively. Encouraging employees to take breaks, providing access to mental health support, and fostering a supportive work culture are all practical solutions to alleviate workplace stress.

In this particular scenario, let’s imagine that the employee facing stress and burnout is named Alex. Alex has been working long hours, often sacrificing personal time and rest to meet tight deadlines and demanding expectations. As a result, Alex is experiencing physical and mental exhaustion, reduced productivity, and a sense of detachment from work.

Recognizing the signs of burnout, Alex’s organization takes proactive measures to address the issue. They understand that employee well-being is crucial for maintaining a healthy and productive workforce. To promote a healthy work-life balance, the organization encourages employees to take regular breaks and prioritize self-care. They emphasize the importance of disconnecting from work during non-working hours and encourage employees to engage in activities that promote relaxation and rejuvenation.

Additionally, the organization provides access to mental health support services, such as counseling or therapy sessions. They recognize that stress and burnout can have a significant impact on an individual’s mental well-being and offer resources to help employees manage their stress effectively. By destigmatizing mental health and providing confidential support, the organization creates an environment where employees feel comfortable seeking help when needed.

Furthermore, the organization fosters a supportive work culture by promoting open communication and empathy. They encourage managers and colleagues to check in with each other regularly, offering support and understanding. Team members are encouraged to collaborate and share the workload, ensuring that no one person is overwhelmed with excessive responsibilities.

By implementing these strategies, Alex’s organization aims to alleviate workplace stress and prevent burnout. They understand that a healthy and balanced workforce is more likely to be engaged, productive, and satisfied. Through a combination of promoting work-life balance, providing mental health support, and fostering a supportive work culture, organizations can effectively address workplace stress and create an environment conducive to employee well-being.

Practical Solutions to Workplace Problems

Now that we have explored real scenarios, let’s discuss practical solutions that organizations can implement to address workplace problems. By adopting proactive strategies and establishing effective policies, organizations can create a positive work environment conducive to problem-solving and productivity.

Implementing Effective Policies for Problem Resolution

Organizations should have clear and well-defined policies in place to address workplace problems. These policies should outline procedures for conflict resolution, channels for reporting problems, and accountability measures. By ensuring that employees are aware of these policies and have easy access to them, organizations can facilitate problem-solving and prevent issues from escalating.

Promoting a Positive Workplace Culture

A positive workplace culture is vital for problem-solving. By fostering an environment of respect, collaboration, and open communication, organizations can create a space where individuals feel empowered to address and solve problems. Encouraging teamwork, recognizing and appreciating employees’ contributions, and promoting a healthy work-life balance are all ways to cultivate a positive workplace culture.

The Role of Leadership in Problem Solving

Leadership plays a crucial role in facilitating effective problem-solving within organizations. Different leadership styles can impact how problems are approached and resolved.

Leadership Styles and Their Impact on Problem-Solving

Leaders who adopt an autocratic leadership style may make decisions independently, potentially leaving their team members feeling excluded and undervalued. On the other hand, leaders who adopt a democratic leadership style involve their team members in the problem-solving process, fostering a sense of ownership and empowerment. By encouraging employee participation, organizations can leverage the diverse perspectives and expertise of their workforce to find innovative solutions to workplace problems.

Encouraging Employee Participation in Problem Solving

To harness the collective problem-solving abilities of an organization, it is crucial to encourage employee participation. Leaders can create opportunities for employees to contribute their ideas and perspectives through brainstorming sessions, team meetings, and collaborative projects. By valuing employee input and involving them in decision-making processes, organizations can foster a culture of inclusivity and drive innovative problem-solving efforts.

In today’s dynamic work environment, workplace problems are unavoidable. However, by understanding common workplace problems, developing essential problem-solving skills, and implementing practical solutions, individuals and organizations can navigate these challenges effectively. By fostering a positive work culture, implementing effective policies, and encouraging employee participation, organizations can create an environment conducive to problem-solving and productivity. With proactive problem-solving strategies in place, organizations can thrive and overcome obstacles, ensuring long-term success and growth.

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25+ Good Examples of Problem Solving in the Workplace

Problem-solving is a necessary skill for success in any workplace situation, but it’s especially important when you’re working with other people.

However, this skill seems to be a lost art nowadays. More and more employees— even some leaders —find it difficult to efficiently solve problems and navigate challenging situations.

According to professionals, here are good examples of problem-solving in the workplace:

Lisa Bahar, MA, LMFT, LPCC

Lisa Bahar

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist | Philosophy of Global Leadership and Change Ph.D. Student, Pepperdine University

How are workplace environment problems assessed and evaluated?

Workplace environments problems are assessed and evaluated by completing an environmental scan conducted by an internal or external consultant .

The consultant assesses the workspace, employee interaction, culture, and leadership approaches to identify the problem and the elements supporting the issue.

There are methods and models associated with environmental scans that change experts and problem solvers use to conduct a thorough analysis of the organization for the purposes of change.

Using the effective method of Change Models

The consultant determines effective methods defined as “Change Models,” selected based on the organization’s objectives and strategic goals.

The consultant considers results from an evaluation process that provides a greater understanding of the organization on a micro-level by reviewing social, political, economic, legal, intercultural, and technology elements of the organization SPELIT (Schmeider-Ramirez and Mallette, 2007).

Implement the appropriate Change Model

SPELIT is one of several methods to use in the evaluation process of an organization. Once the consultant completes the evaluation and the problem(s) are identified, the next step is implementing the appropriate Change Model.

For example, an eight-step change model by Kotter is an easy-to-understand approach to identifying change steps in an organization (Kotter, 1996).

The Kotter model can be combined with a training approach, for example, Kirkpatrick’s four levels of training (Kirkpatrick, J.D., and Kirkpatrick, W.K., 2016).

Learn and identify the problem

An example of a learning problem could be a clinical setting needing to transition to electronic notes for client care and experiencing resistance to the change by the organization’s employees.

The evaluation is to identify if it is a:

  • Reaction problem
  • Learning problem
  • Behavior problem
  • Result problem

A consultant may start interviewing leadership, team manager, and workers to gain knowledge and comprehension of the problem.

Bloom’s Taxonomy (Bloom, 1972) can be used as a tool by the consultant to evaluate and identify the learning problem and the objectives that need to be implemented to create change.

The consultant will assess with surveys, interviews, discussions and design and implement training that supports the organization’s staff goals using electronic notes versus handwritten notes to maintain compliance with regulatory standards.

References:

Bloom, B. S. (1972). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals. Kirkpatrick, J. D., & Kirkpatrick, W. K. (2016). Kirkpatrick’s four levels of training evaluation. Association for Talent Development. Kotter, J. P. (1996). Leading change. Harvard Business Press. Schmieder-Ramirez, J. H., D., J. S., & Mallette, L. A. (2007). The Spelit power matrix: Untangling the organizational environment with the Spelit leadership tool. Createspace Independent Pub.

Nick Seidel

Nick Seidel

Safety and Health Specialist, Nick to the Plus

As a Safety and Health Specialist in a million square foot warehouse with 200 material handling equipment on the floor, we have reduced our OSHA Recordable Injuries by over 70% in four years.

I would say keep it simple , trust your team , and know your leading indicators .

Keep it simple and trust your team — don’t overcomplicate problems and solutions

Many new “Leaders” in the workplace want to make an impression. While they are trying to make this impression, they overcomplicate problems and solutions.

They try to reinvent the wheel. Many times this will cause confusion, frustration, and double work.

An example of keeping it simple is (if you are a new Leader in a workplace):

  • Know that your team are the experts and have seen many of you come through.
  • Ask your team what we can do to make your process more accessible or better.
  • Let your team know that you trust them by giving them ownership in their process, and that will foster trust in you.
  • When your team comes to you with suggestions and/or problems, make sure you follow through with their requests.
  • Crowdsource or mastermind the problem, let the team solve the problem, and provide the resources.

Know your leading indicators and how to measure them

A VP told me one time that you can improve something if you aren’t measuring. To solve problems in the workplace , you first need to know the issues and how to measure them.

For example, in safety, I know my leading indicators are:

  • Have a Safety Team that meets regularly with a structured outline to follow.
  • Are we up to date with safety training?
  • Do we have leadership commitment? What are our follow up and follow through ratings?
  • Are employees engaged in safety? Do they feel comfortable reporting hazards or injuries?
  • Are we tracking near-miss incidents and correcting the hazards before it becomes an incident?
  • Do we have consistent and clean housekeeping?

So in closing, keep it simple, trust your team, and know your leading indicators to solve problems in the workplace.

Matthew Carter

Matthew Carter

Attorney,  Inc and Go

Give your good employees more face time with clients. Not all problems relate to clients or customers, but many of them do.

Give your workers the presence and authority to fix client problems

The first step to solving those as they come up is to give your trusted workers the presence and authority to fix client problems.

That means making your worker the company’s “face” to a particular client and giving them the latitude to make decisions. That can empower both the worker and the client to solve problems before getting involved.

Of course, you still need to be on hand for big issues, but those should lessen as time goes on.

Have fewer formal meetings

Nothing stifles creativity faster than another boring all-hands meeting. Throw in a PowerPoint Presentation and a long agenda, and your workers have completely checked out.

Sometimes meetings are necessary, but real problem-solving more often takes place in smaller, unstructured brainstorming sessions with the most personally invested in a problem.

It’s essential that you maintain personal relationships with your workers. If they are having trouble with a particular project or presentation, you can stop by their office for a few minutes to hash out a solution.

Give your ideas time to marinate

In today’s business environment, we often prize speed above all else. After you have brainstormed a solution, it’s often good to get it on paper and then let it sit for a night before coming back with a clear head .

That’s not usually a good recipe for creativity.

If your project is time-sensitive, at least take an hour before returning to it . Creative problem-solving often needs time to work, so when you give ideas time to marinate, you and your clients will probably be happier with the solutions.

Steven Walker

Steven Walker

CEO,  Spylix

Meet with your boss to evaluate the problem before it worsens

Problem-solving skills help you find the cause of a problem and an effective solution . In any case, how to reliably perceive problem-solving is very similar to its limitations, and the other related skills are significantly increased.

Problem-solving is a system that involves understanding tests and finding valuable solutions in the workplace. In everything that matters, every ally needs a worker with these qualities to consider their problem-solving skills and aid in a pleasant cycle in their everyday work.

Following are some skills for problem-solving in the workplace:

  • Fully fixed duty skill
  • Evaluation skill
  • Research skill
  • Imagination/implementation skill

Following are some examples of problem-solving in the workplace:

  • Whether it be you or someone else, it promotes bad things .
  • Overcoming management delays through problem-solving and response.
  • Troubleshooting problematic or dissatisfied customers
  • Overcome the problems associated with limited spending plans and now use creative problem solving to devise unusual action plans.
  • Overcome the need to prepare/complete your workplace to deliver great work anyway.
  • Exploring and solving apparent problems.
  • Supervision and Dispute Resolution through Assistants.
  • Solve all problems related to cash, settlement with customers, accounting, etc.
  • Be truthful when other assistants miss or miss something important.
  • Go ahead and meet with your boss to evaluate the problem before it worsens.

Christopher Liew, CFA

Christopher Liew

Creator,  Wealth Awesome

Surprisingly, approximately 85% of American employees have experienced conflicts with peers and colleagues in their workplace.

It’s why we need to teach people problem-solving techniques in the workplace efficiently and effectively.

Use the consensus decision-making technique frequently

This type of problem-solving technique allows everyone to agree that a particular problem needs to be discussed thoroughly and needs to be solved immediately .

Ideas, opinions, suggestions, solutions, or violent reactions are voiced freely. The goal of this problem-solving technique is to make a list of recommendations that are acceptable to all members of the company.

After that, they further develop the best solution from one of the recommendations that they have all agreed on previously.

It can significantly increase group cohesion and team unity since the consensus decision-making technique allows everyone to participate freely without being judged harshly .

Use the devil’s advocate decision-making technique accordingly and moderately

This type of problem-solving technique allows the business organization to form a panel that will thoroughly scrutinize a group’s ideas and suggestions within the company.

The goal is to uncover weaknesses in the ideas and suggestions presented instantly.

However, this type of decision-making technique can only be implemented efficiently and effectively if the group presenting an idea, suggestion, or solution is open to receiving feedback and constructive criticisms.

It should be used moderately as this decision-making technique could sometimes add tension among group members within the company.

Magda Klimkiewicz

Magda Klimkiewicz

Senior HR Business Partner,  Zety

Make the current process faster, more efficient, or more accurate

One of my all-time favorite ways of problem-solving in the workplace is making the current process faster, more efficient, or more accurate.

Personally, I call this “operation consolidation,” and despite the corny nickname, trust me, when completed, everyone will be appreciative (at least in the long term).

The level of inefficiency and room for improvement is never-ending .

Every dashboard, database, or process often grows in size and complexity over time as everyone is interested in adding that extra field, messing with that new factor without stopping and thinking, “Do we still need and are we using some of the original ones?”

Evolution is constant and makes sense ; however, as the new fields are populated, and processes added, it makes sense to stop and do some much-needed spring cleaning.

This is similar to Coca-Cola’s recent culling of almost half of its portfolio (which only accounted for 5% of its sales). Likewise, every organization looks to subtract before adding on new ones.

So always look to simplify , cut in half , and get rid of the excess fat , whether meetings, overblown dashboards, or processes with too many layers and stakeholders – triage ruthlessly and watch the magic happen.

Stephan Baldwin

Stephan Baldwin

Founder,  Assisted Living Center

Allow each party to voice their solutions to the problem through brain dumping

Brain dumping allows each party to voice their solutions to the problem. Most conflicts involve an offender , defender , and mediator who decides on a resolution.

But opening the floor to suggestions helps implicated employees feel heard and understood, even if you don’t settle for their idea in the end.

Some people prefer to express their preferences in private, so you may want to conduct individual discussions before regrouping to resolve the issue.

All suggestions can remain anonymous to avoid the appearance of bias

From there, all suggestions can remain anonymous to avoid the appearance of bias. Hash out each option with everyone and decide upon a compromise that works best for the majority.

Implement the 5-whys technique

Problem resolution can also take a coach’s approach by implementing the 5-whys technique. The 5-whys allows employees to discover the root of their conflict without directly involving the mediator.

Start the conversation by asking one party why they reacted to the situation offensively. Then, follow up their response by inquiring why they felt or thought that way.

By the time you get to the fifth “why,” everyone should have a clearer picture of how things unraveled.

It can transform the conflict into a collaboration development exercise

This technique can transform the conflict into a collaboration development exercise by allowing colleagues to understand each other’s points of view.

Overall, it encourages more empathy and reasoning in the problem-solving process.

Adam Crossling

Adam Crossling

Marketing Manager,  Zenzero

Make meaningful time to interact with your staff

Set a high standard for communication to solve this problem. Face-to-face communication is preferable whenever possible.

Phone conversations, emails, and texts are acceptable in an emergency, but they are insufficient to replace an utterly present dialogue.

Set suitable objectives and expectations

Make sure your staff grasps the essentials by referring to job descriptions. Convene a brainstorming session for unique initiatives and auxiliary goals, and define goals as a team .

Your staff could surprise you by establishing more challenging goals for themselves than you do.

Demonstrate your worth to a new team or yourself

Share your work description with your staff to solve the problem. Seriously, if you don’t already have one, make one .

It might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Communicate your priorities, and follow through on what you say you’ll do.

Kyle Kroeger

Kyle Kroeger

Founder,  The Impact Investor

Implementing workplace synchrony

This concept that I call workplace synchrony is something that other forms of working may not offer. For example, it is something that the newly introduced remote work culture cannot sufficiently prove to be an alternative.

Workplace synchrony is the impeccable order of operations in which specific departments in the workplace run their proceedings.

For example, I want you to consider this; the production team in a textile factory ensures that the conveyor belt functions correctly, products are manufactured in an orderly manner, and the daily target is met.

However, if it were not for the quality control department, there would be no one to approve of the items’ standards.

Alternatively, as is self-explanatory, there is no job left for quality control inspection teams to do without the production line workers.

This is a testament to the synchrony and flow of how multiple teams get together to solve problems in a sequence and help workplaces flourish.

Brainstorming as a group regarding challenges that the company may face

Another affordance that in-person, and to some extent its remote work counterpart, also provides is the ability to brainstorm as a group regarding challenges that the company may face.

For example, there may be a demand by the labor union to increase wage rates, and also a potential that there may be a strike or a peaceful protest for the same reason.

Group meetings in workplaces allow all the potential stakeholders to be impacted by a possible decision, to be present at one moment, and put their needs, demands, and terms forward.

Hence, in the case that wages are considered to be increased , production costs are going to be deemed to increase .

Managers may talk about possible increases in price. In contrast, customer relations department employees might want to chip in to negotiate on the matter with the managers, not compromise the needs of consumers.

This is how all stakeholders walkout in content, knowing their needs are recognized.

Manage the problem with patience and tact

Emotions and perspectives like self-importance, overconfidence, and arrogance can arise even in our best coworkers, clients, and people we report to.

These people may be very good at their job, but everyone occasionally gets it wrong . Stress, burnout, ill health, fear, and feelings of insecurity can be the causes of underlying disputes, poor judgment, and mistakes in the workplace.

It is important not to lose respect for them and remember they are not only as good as their last job. You can build trust by weathering the storm with them.

If you come out the other side together as partners because you managed the problem with patience and tact, the relationship will be strengthened, and cooperation will hopefully improve.

Some problems become unmanageable, and a person’s stubbornness and refusal to cooperate seem insurmountable. Money matters can be some of the most explosive issues of all.

One thing that can be done is to draw the person’s attention to the critical facts that decide the way forward in terms of financial concerns, rather than anyone enforcing a decision on others.

Monika Dmochowska

Monika Dmochowska

Talent Acquisition Specialist,  Tidio

Implementing a goal-setting system

Problem : Goal-setting and expectations-management.

No doubt, sometimes it’s hard for individual employees and whole teams to set appropriate goals and make relevant expectations.

This can be solved by implementing a goal-setting system (e.g., OKRs) for every employee individually or at least team-wide.

Using a time management system

Problem : Poor time management.

It’s a very common work problem with many solutions working for everyone individually.

A good example would be using a time management system (e.g., Pomodoro), keeping track of all tasks in a project management tool like Jira, and adding all meetings and appointments to the calendar.

Related: 42 Best Productivity and Time Management Books

Identify a mentor that you can turn to for advice and help

Problem : Asking for help.

Unfortunately, it’s challenging for many people to ask for help even if the team encourages them.

An excellent solution to this would be to identify a mentor or a buddy – the person you can turn to for advice and help.

This will be a mutually valuable relationship. You will receive the help you need, and the person will gain experience in mentoring someone.

Related: How to Ask Someone to Be Your Mentor

Jeff Mains

CEO,  Champion Leadership Group LLC

Managers and coworkers will regard you as a valuable resource if you can efficiently address challenges at work. Problem-solving may draw together teams, expedite processes, create a more efficient workplace, and boost productivity.

It could also help you save expenses and raise income — two crucial areas where your boss will be pleased to see improvement.

Require a robust business-wide interaction

To guarantee that you can perform correctly every day, you require a robust business-wide interaction. It’s necessary for long-term development .

When adequate linkages are not present, processes might fall through the cracks, resulting in significant performance concerns.

Addressing communication challenges at work entails guaranteeing a two-way approach to help build a culture of accountability and transparency.

Ensure that employees are treated fairly

Extroverts with a lot of confidence are usually correlated with business success. More extroverted business owners may find it difficult to comprehend their more reserved personnel.

Some may even see the scenario as having introvert issues at work, which is a drawback in some businesses but a valuable asset.

So keep in mind that individuals with more introspective personality qualities bring various aspects to their positions, especially in creative contexts .

You must ensure that employees are treated fairly . Don’t show favoritism to anybody. Also, keep an eye out for nepotism.

Kimberly Back

Kimberly Back

Senior Job Data Content Producer,  Virtual Vocations

Prioritize open communication and employee feedback

Solving workplace problems should be a goal for every business, but the process starts with understanding which workplace stressors affect employees most.

Virtual Vocations surveyed 1,158 U.S. workers and found that the biggest workplace confidence killer, which also negatively impacts productivity and employee well-being, is a micromanager boss .

Related: How to Deal With Micromanagers

Micromanaging and other common workplace problems like poor company culture , lack of transparency , and unrealistic performance expectations can be solved by prioritizing open communication and employee feedback .

Conducting employee surveys, holding the regular team and individual meetings, demonstrating respect for employees, and showing an interest in employees beyond work are all ways to keep employees engaged and ensure their ideas are heard.

When employees have a say in how they work and how they are managed, they are much more likely to perform well and stay longer .

Ahren A. Tiller, Esq.

Ahren Tiller

Founder and Supervising Attorney,  Bankruptcy Law Center

Confront the conflict but actively listen to what the other person says

Communication is very important to any relationship or team. Many issues arise due to lack or absence of communication .

When there is conflict, my staff doesn’t like to beat around the bush. Good problem-solvers don’t act based on their emotions. They confront the conflict but actively listen to what the other person says.

Understand the situation and consider the options to make up for the errors

It doesn’t matter whether one employee or another is at fault; correcting a mistake comes naturally to good problem-solvers.

Self-reflection is an excellent way to assess your own actions—were they helpful?

Look at your own point of view, and the other person’s to understand the situation and consider the options to make up for the errors. Rectifying a mistake requires strategy and creativity .

Ouriel Lemmel

Ouriel Lemmel

CEO and Founder,  WinIt

Use your creative side to identify new or unusual alternatives

Using your creative side to identify new or unusual alternatives is an excellent way to problem-solve in the workplace.

Too often, you can get stuck in a pattern of thinking about what has been successful in the past, but when you are faced with a new problem , you may find it challenging to generate new ideas.

If you have a problem that seems to have no solution, try out some different techniques. Play “What if” games, for example:

“What if money was no object? How would that change the solution?”

You may find an answer you weren’t thinking of. Permit yourself to think of ideas that may seem outlandish or appear to break the rules; you may end up having a stroke of genius.

David Farkas

David Farkas

CEO and Founder,  The Upper Ranks

Raise the bar for effective communication

Making meaningful time to speak with your staff is a common concern. The best way to resolve this issue is to raise the bar for effective communication . Face-to-face communication is the best way to get things done.

There is no alternative to a face-to-face conversation, yet phone conversations, emails, and messages are okay in a pinch. Online aptitude, psychometric, and ability tests are a few examples of the exams that companies could administer to see how well you solve problems.

These are often administered as part of the application process, although they may be given again at an assessment center. Situational judgment assessments and logic tests like inductive reasoning or diagrammatic reasoning will probably gauge how well you solve problems.

Effective issue resolution indeed takes both time and attention . A problem that hasn’t been solved requires more time and attention. Taking the time to slow down is all that is necessary for success .

There are no straight lines in life. You’ll be in good shape on the next straightaway if you get this one correctly. You may not be in the best shape if you move too rapidly .

Employees can weather the storm by planning for the worst-case scenario in every situation. There are a variety of approaches you may take, but the most critical is learning how to overcome the obstacle.

A workplace may be prepared for both the best and worst of times, whether a common cold or an overflowing workload.

David Reid

Sales Director,  VEM Tooling

It is common to face many problems in your organization several times. But what is not common is how to deal with that problem to rise above your previous self.

When we talk about a workplace, there are several difficulties that a person needs to deal with in it. Here is one of my examples of problem-solving at the workplace that I find perfect.

Observe which is more important for your business

Problem : Balance between growth and quality

When I first encountered this problem at the end of 2021. I thought it would be a lot difficult to deal with. But as time passed and I gave my thoughts on this problem repeatedly.

I found a way to deal with it. First, I need to see which is more important for my business, growth or quality.

As we all know, nothing in this world is perfect, but as a new developing firm in the market, I need to ensure my business provides quality to its customers.

When I figured it all out, I found that I would grow my organization if I could provide my customers with good quality satisfaction. That’s how I learned how to balance growth and quality to solve the problem.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How can i improve my problem-solving skills.

To improve your problem-solving skills, you need to practice and be intentional. Here are some things you can do to strengthen this skill:

Identify and analyze problems as soon as possible.  Once you identify a problem, try to understand it thoroughly, gather information from reliable sources, and consider possible solutions.

Think outside the box.  Don’t be afraid to approach problems in unconventional ways. Draw inspiration from unrelated fields or industries.

Collaborate.  Work with your colleagues to find solutions. Two heads are better than one!

Learn from your experiences.  Take time to reflect on how you solved problems in the past and learn from your successes and mistakes.

Can I be a successful problem solver without being creative?

Yes, you can be a successful problem solver without being creative. While creativity can help you develop unique solutions to problems, it is not the only skill needed for problem-solving.

Logical thinking, research, analytical skills, and collaboration can also help you solve problems successfully.

These skills require a deep understanding of the problem, identifying the cause and origin of the problem, gathering information, analyzing it, and finally developing a solution based on the information gathered.

A successful problem solver is one who can objectively analyze a problem and derive optimal and workable solutions that are reasonable and achievable. Thinking outside the box and being creative can be an advantage, but it is not an essential requirement for solving problems in the workplace.

How can I encourage my team to engage in problem-solving activities?

Encouraging your team to engage in problem-solving activities can help foster a culture of innovation and continuous improvement. Some ways to encourage problem-solving in the workplace include:

– Scheduling time for team brainstorming sessions or problem-solving workshops – Encouraging team members to share their ideas and perspectives – Providing opportunities for skill-building and professional development – Recognizing and rewarding team members who contribute to problem-solving efforts – Leading by example and demonstrating a commitment to problem-solving

How can I convince my employer that I have problem-solving skills?

To convince your employer that you have problem-solving skills, you need to demonstrate them in action. Here are some tips to help you showcase your skills:

Point out instances where you have successfully solved a problem:  In your resume or interview, cite specific examples of difficult workplace problems you faced and solved. Explain the steps you took, the approach you used, and the results you achieved.

Explain your problem-solving approach:  Employers are looking for a systematic approach to problem-solving that will help them achieve their goals. Describe the steps you take when confronted with a problem and how you use data and other resources to determine the root cause of the problem.

Quantify your successes:  Be as specific as possible about the results you achieved in solving a problem. Did you increase the company’s revenue or save them money? Provide data that shows the impact of your solution.

Market yourself as a lifelong learner:  Employers know that not every problem has a defined solution. Therefore, it is valuable to have a candidate who is willing to learn and adapt to changes in the company.

Highlight this by talking about additional training or certifications you are pursuing to further enhance your problem-solving skills.

How can I tell if my problem-solving efforts are successful?

The success of a problem-solving effort can be measured in different ways, depending on the problem you’re trying to solve. However, there are some signs that your problem-solving is on the right track:

Clarity:  You have a clear understanding of the problem and what you’re trying to accomplish.

Solution:  You have found a solution that is effective and has already been implemented.

Feedback:  You have received feedback from colleagues, supervisors, or customers that the problem has been solved.

Continuous improvement:  You continuously reflect on and improve your problem-solving tactics and approaches.

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The Editors

The Future World of Work – UNI Global

5 Examples of Problem-Solving in The Workplace

Christina J Colclough

By Christina Colclough

Last updated: January 12, 2024

When you’re in a job interview, you can almost bet on being asked about your problem-solving experiences. This skill is always high on employers’ wish lists. Walk in with a few solid examples up your sleeve and talk about them with confidence – that’s what grabs their attention.

Problem-Solving discussion

In this post, I’ll guide you through picking the right problem-solving in workplace examples and articulating them in a way that will make you stand out.

In this article:

What is problem solving.

At its core, this skill is all about spotting issues and then working out the smartest ways to sort them out. In the workplace, this skill keeps things running smoothly because challenges always pop up.

In any job, you’re bound to bump into a range of problems. It could be meeting a tight deadline, handling customer complaints, or resolving misunderstandings among team members. Each of these difficult situations needs a cool head and a clear strategy.

Dealing with these issues well is crucial because it keeps the wheels turning. Effective problem-solving means fewer hiccups in projects, better teamwork, and happier customers. It’s like oiling the cogs of a machine.

That is why interviewers like myself often drill down into the candidates’ problem-solving abilities with questions like “ Tell me about a time you solved a problem ” or “ Can you describe a situation where you had to overcome a significant challenge? “

We want to know if you’re the kind of person who faces challenges head-on or if you tend to sweep them under the rug. We’re looking for someone who not only spots issues but also comes up with smart solutions and puts them into action. It’s all about ensuring that, when the going gets tough, you’ve got the skills to keep things on track.

How to Answer Problem-Solving Interview Questions

Close up interviewer

When you’re in an interview and asked about problem-solving, it’s a golden opportunity to show your skills. In my experience, a great approach is to use the STAR technique. This strategy helps structure your answer in a clear and compelling way.

Let’s break down what each part of STAR stands for:

  • Situation : Describe the context within which you had to solve a problem.
  • Task : Explain the actual problem or challenge you were facing.
  • Action : Describe the actions you took to address the problem.
  • Result : Share the outcomes of your actions.

In this step, your goal is to give the interviewer a snapshot of your scenario.

Let’s say you had to deal with a significant drop in team morale and productivity. At the beginning of your response, you want to set the context for your story. This should include where you were working, your role, and the initial problem.

The key here is to be concise but provide enough detail to paint a clear picture like this:

“In my previous role as a team leader, I noticed a sudden drop in team morale and productivity. This was unusual for our normally energetic and efficient team.”

Common Situations

Here are some other common situations you can mention in your answer:

  • Resolving an issue with a difficult client when they complain about a product or service
  • Figuring out a solution when equipment or technology breaks down or fails
  • Dealing with a mistake you’ve made on an important project
  • Handling a tight deadline when unexpected challenges threaten completion
  • Settling a dispute between colleagues who aren’t getting along
  • Improving productivity for a team that is underperforming
  • Persuading colleagues to get on board with an idea they are resistant to

How to Answer With Limited Experience

answering questions during an interview

Don’t worry if you just graduated or have little work experience. Think about examples from school group projects, internships, or part-time jobs like these:

  • Coordinating schedules for a group presentation when everyone has different availabilities
  • Resolving a disagreement over roles for a big class project
  • Finding ways to improve your team’s process when a professor gives feedback
  • Managing deadlines and deliverables with classmates who had competing priorities
  • Convincing peers to adopt your proposed solution for an assignment
  • Addressing complaints from a classmate about unequal workloads

Clarify the problem you had to tackle. What was expected of you? What complex challenge did you need to address? Here, you’re setting up the specific problem that you were tasked with solving.

Remember, the focus is on the problem, not yet on your actions. Using the above example, here is what you can talk about:

“My task was to identify the causes of this decline and implement a strategy to boost morale and productivity. I needed to make sure our team could return to its usual high-performance level.”

Describe the steps you took to solve the problem. Think about how you analyzed the situation, decided on a course of action, and implemented it. It should show your critical thinking and analytical skills.

“To tackle this, I first conducted one-on-one meetings with team members to understand their concerns and gather feedback. Based on these insights, I realized that a recent change in company policy was causing stress.

I advocated for my team’s concerns with upper management and worked with them to modify the policy. At the same time, I initiated team-building activities and regular check-ins to foster a more supportive and open team environment.”

Finally, talk about the outcomes of your actions. Employers want to know your problem-solving drives real improvements. Also, highlight any positive feedback from your boss or team members, and if possible, quantify the success.

“As a result of these actions, we saw a significant improvement in team morale within a month. Productivity levels bounced back, and the team’s overall satisfaction with their work environment increased.

This experience not only taught me valuable lessons about team dynamics but also reinforced the importance of proactive communication and advocacy for team needs.”

Here are some other outcomes to highlight in your answer:

  • Resolving an issue with a difficult client : Client satisfaction restored, future business secured
  • Fixing broken equipment : Equipment operational again, no more disruptions to operations
  • Dealing with a mistake : Error corrected, a new process implemented to prevent recurrence
  • Handling a deadline : Project completed on time, client received deliverable as promised
  • Settling a dispute : Conflict resolved, team collaboration and morale improved
  • Boosting team productivity : Increased output, goals reached, performance metrics improved
  • Persuading colleagues : Proposal approved, a new initiative launched successfully

5 Examples Of Problem-Solving Skills

Problem-Solving Skills

1. Improving Collaboration in a Stalled Project

Here is a sample you can use when explaining how you improved team collaboration on a project:

“Our team was tasked with developing a new financial management web application. However, we hit a snag and missed two crucial milestones. The core issue was a breakdown in communication – team members were not proactively sharing updates on delays or challenges they encountered.

To address this, I instituted daily 15-minute standup meetings. These sessions provided a platform for everyone to voice concerns and update the team on their progress. We also started tracking tasks in a shared spreadsheet so everyone had more visibility into the project.

Within two weeks, collaboration and communication improved significantly. We renegotiated the timeline with stakeholders, and the project team delivered the web app only 1 week after the original deadline.

The processes we put in place didn’t just help us with this project but also significantly boosted our efficiency on later projects.”

2. Revitalizing a Marketing Campaign

This is how you can describe a time you turned around a marketing campaign:

“In my last marketing role, I was responsible for a campaign promoting a new line of eco-friendly skincare products. Midway through, we found that our engagement metrics were dismal, particularly with our targeted demographic of people aged 20-30.

Upon reviewing our approach, I realized our messaging was too generic and failed to connect with this specific group’s interests and values. I spearheaded a strategy shift, focusing on the environmental benefits and ethical sourcing, aspects we found resonated more with a slightly older demographic, females aged 25-35, who were more invested in sustainable living.

We also pivoted our advertising to platforms popular with this demographic, like eco-conscious lifestyle blogs and organic beauty forums. This shift led to a 40% increase in engagement and contributed greatly to the success of our product launch, exceeding our initial sales targets.”

3. Streamlining Operational Processes

Here’s an example to illustrate how you tackled inefficiencies in operational processes:

“As an operations manager at a mid-sized electronics manufacturer, I noticed our product delivery was consistently delayed.

I identified the root cause as a bottleneck in our supply chain. In particular, a stage where manual data entry from manufacturing to logistics was causing significant hold-ups.

Realizing the need for efficiency, I proposed automating this stage. We collaborated with the IT department and implemented a barcode scanning system that integrated manufacturing output with our logistics database.

This change cut down the processing time by 30%, drastically improving our on-time delivery rate. It not only led to an upswing in customer satisfaction but also streamlined our inventory management, reducing both operational delays and costs.”

4. Resolving Communication Barriers Between Teams

This example demonstrates a solution for inter-departmental communication issues:

“In my previous role, I observed recurring conflicts between the sales and product development teams. These were mainly due to misunderstandings and a lack of clear communication about product updates. This led to promises being made to customers that the product team couldn’t fulfill.

To bridge this gap, I proposed and facilitated a series of joint workshops between the two teams. These sessions focused on aligning the teams’ understanding of product capabilities and timelines. Additionally, I initiated a bi-weekly newsletter and a shared digital workspace where both teams could update each other on developments and feedback.

The result was a significant improvement in inter-team collaboration. The sales team was better informed about product limitations and timelines, leading to more realistic commitments to customers.

Meanwhile, the product team received valuable market feedback directly from the sales team. It helped them tailor developments to customer needs. This collaborative approach not only reduced conflicts but also led to better product-market alignment.”

5. Resolving Customer Complaints and Enhancing Service Quality

customer service

This highlights an approach to customer service challenges:

“In my role as a customer service manager, I was faced with increasing customer complaints regarding delayed response times. This issue was affecting customer satisfaction and had the potential to harm our company’s reputation.

I started by analyzing our customer service processes and discovered that our response system was outdated and inefficient. To rectify this, I led the implementation of a new customer relationship management (CRM) system that streamlined our customer service workflow.

This system included automated responses for common queries and a more efficient ticketing process for complex issues. I also organized a series of training sessions for the customer service team to ensure they were well-versed in using the new system and could provide more effective solutions to customers.

Implementing these changes led to a huge reduction in response time and a significant drop in customer complaints. Our team also received positive feedback for improved service quality, which was reflected in our customer satisfaction surveys.”

Tips on Improving Problem-Solving Skills

Problem-solving is a career-long skill, not just needed for some interviews. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro, honing these skills can make a big difference in how you handle challenges at work.

Understand Before Assuming

Jumping to conclusions can be a trap. When a problem arises, take a step back and get a clear picture of what’s actually going on. This means holding off on assumptions until you’ve gathered all the facts.

Sometimes, the real issue isn’t what it seems at first glance. Doing a bit of digging to understand the root cause can lead you to a more effective solution.

Research and Learn from the Past

History often repeats itself, and this is true for workplace problems, too. When faced with a challenge, look into whether similar issues have popped up before.

How were they handled? What worked and what didn’t? Learning from past experiences, whether your own or someone else’s, can be a goldmine of insights.

Brainstorm With Creative Thinking

When thinking about potential solutions, avoid locking yourself into the first idea that comes to mind. Brainstorming can open up a world of possibilities and creative solutions. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Sometimes, the most unconventional ideas turn out to be the best solutions.

Always Have a Plan B

Even the best-laid plans can go awry. That’s why having a contingency plan is a must.

Think about what could go wrong and how to contain any further issues. This doesn’t mean you’re expecting the worst, but rather, you’re prepared to handle it efficiently if it does happen.

Team Decisions and Communication

Solving problems isn’t a solo mission. Make decisions as a team and keep everyone in the loop.

Clear communication is a valuable soft skill that helps everyone understand the plan and their role in it. Plus, this is how you can bring new perspectives and ideas to the table and make your solution even stronger.

Timeframe and Flexibility

Set a timeframe for your action plan, but be flexible. If something isn’t working, be ready to pivot and try a different approach. Sticking rigidly to a plan that’s not delivering results won’t do anyone any favors.

See more interview tips: How To Write A Follow-Up Email After Interview 3 Examples For Thank-You Email After Interview 8 Examples of Challenges You Have Overcome At Work 6 sample answers of accomplishments at work 5 Examples of Problem-Solving in The Workplace How To Ask for Feedback After Job Rejection How to Explain The Reason for Leaving a Job on Applications For Interview Question: What Do You Like To Do For Fun? What Are You Most Passionate About? What Are You Looking For In Your Next Job? Why Are You Interested In This Position? What Accomplishments Are You Most Proud Of?

Frequently Asked Questions

Are problem-solving skills that important.

Absolutely. No matter where you work, there’s always a curveball now and then. Having the knack to quickly think on your feet, break down a problem, and come up with a solution is a game-changer.

How Do I Sell Myself as a Problem Solver?

Storytelling is your best bet here. The trick is to paint a picture where you’re the person who spots the problem and then creatively solves it, not just someone who follows instructions.

How Do I Choose Good Examples for a Job Interview?

Pick examples that show you’re not just a one-trick pony. What I find impressive is when someone can demonstrate their thought process – how they analyzed the issue, got creative with solutions, and then put their plan into action.

What Are the Key Attributes of a Good Problem Solver?

They’re the kind of people who don’t rush to conclusions. Instead, they take their time to understand the problem, explore different angles, and weigh their options.

Adaptability is also key – they can roll with the punches and adjust their plans as needed. And, of course, they’re great at getting their point across, ensuring everyone’s on the same page.

What Are the Major Obstacles to Problem Solving?

From what I’ve seen, the big hurdles are often not having enough info, sticking too rigidly to old mindsets, and letting biases lead the way. It’s easy to get tunnel vision, especially if you’re used to doing things a certain way.

Also, not bringing different perspectives to the table can really limit your options.

As you step into the next interview, remember two key things: confidence and clarity. Trust in your abilities and the experiences you bring to the table. Learn how the above problem-solving examples can paint a vivid picture of your challenge and how you tackled it. Most importantly, let those stories reflect your skills and how you can be an asset to any team.

Christina J. Colclough

Dr Christina J. Colclough is an expert on The Future World of Work and the politics of digital technology advocating globally for the importance of the workers’ voice. She has extensive regional and global labour movement experience, is a sought-after keynote speaker, coach, and strategist advising progressive governments and worker organisations.

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7 Examples of Problem-Solving Scenarios in the Workplace (With Solutions)

What is problem-solving anyway, problem-solving scenario #1: tight deadlines and heavy workload.

  • Problem-solving Scenario #2: Handling a Product Launch

Problem-solving Scenario #3: Internal Conflicts in the Team

Problem-solving scenario #4: team not meeting targets, problem-solving scenario #5: team facing high turnover, problem-solving scenario #6: team member facing discrimination, problem-solving scenario #7: new manager unable to motivate a team, building an effective problem-solving framework, wrapping up, frequently asked questions for managers.

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Problem-Solving Scenarios for Managers

  • Talk to the team members: John begins by asking what’s holding them back. Based on their responses, he realizes that he needs to delegate better. Immediately, John schedules meetings to  clarify each member’s expectations , priorities, and roles and ensure everyone is on the same page. He also makes a note to work on his delegation skills.
  • Plan things: John creates a project timeline or task list that outlines the deadlines and deliverables for each team member and shares this with the team to ensure that everyone is aware of what is expected of them.
  • Support the team: The team sits together to establish regular check-ins or progress updates to ensure members can ask questions or raise concerns.

Problem-solving Scenario # 2 : Handling a Product Launch

  • Review and redraw plans:  Emily revisited the project plan and identified areas where the team could reduce the scope or prioritize features to meet the budget constraints.
  • Go for alternatives:  The team then explored alternative resources or suppliers to find cost-effective options. Are there any underutilized resources, equipment, or personnel from other projects or departments that can be temporarily assigned to this project? Moreover, they revisited their suppliers and negotiated further.
  • Outsourcing parts of the project:  Emily considered outsourcing some project functions to external contractors or freelancers. Eventually, they outsourced the marketing to another team and continued working on the core features.
  • Upgrade the available capacity:  Emily and her team invested in upskilling the present workforce with additional skills. It allowed some team members to explore exciting areas and supplemented the team.
  • Get both sides onboard: Taylor begins the conflict resolution process by talking to both team members. She recognizes the issue and first goes into individual discussions with both. Later, she sets up a meeting for both to share their perspectives.
  • Mediation:  In the next step, the manager encourages the two team members to talk to each other and resolve the conflict independently. Taylor describes how the optimal contribution can look different for different team members. Additionally, she encourages them to be more open and collaborative so that they understand what the other one does.
  • Preventing mistakes again:  The team holds a meeting to discuss the issue and allow other team members to express their thoughts and feelings. By not hiding the problem that happened in front of everyone, Taylor acknowledges the issues and shows that she cares about the things happening inside the team. Further, by discussing and sharing, they can build a healthy relationship to prevent similar issues in the future. 
  • Use formal tools: Lastly, they establish clear guidelines and expectations for behavior and communication within the team to prevent future conflicts. Training and coaching are also added to help team members improve their communication and conflict-resolution skills.
  • Discussions with the Sales Representatives: Donna starts by having one-on-one conversations with each team member to understand their perspectives on why the targets are not being met. After gathering insights from personal discussions, Donna calls for a team meeting. During the session, she allows team members to share their experiences, challenges, and suggestions openly. 
  • Analysis of Sales Process: Donna conducts a detailed sales process analysis, from lead generation to closing deals. She identifies bottlenecks and areas where the team might be facing difficulties. This analysis helps her pinpoint specific stages that need improvement. 
  • Setting Realistic Targets: Donna understands that overly ambitious targets might be demotivating. She collaborates with her team to develop more achievable yet challenging sales targets based on their current performance and market conditions. She organizes training sessions and workshops to help team members develop the necessary skills and knowledge to excel. 
  • Recognition and Incentives: Donna introduces a recognition program and incentives for meeting and exceeding targets to motivate the team. This helps boost morale and encourages healthy competition within the team. She closely monitors the team’s progress toward the revised targets. 
  • Conduct Exit Interviews:  As the stream of resignation continues, Neil adopts a realistic approach and starts by attempting to understand the issues his former team members face. He conducts exit interviews with the people leaving and tries to determine what’s wrong. 
  • Understand the current team:  In the next step, Neil tries to learn the perspectives of staying people. Through surveys and conversations, he lists the good parts of working in his team and emphasizes them. He also finds the challenges and works on reducing them. 
  • Change and adapt to employee needs:  These conversations help Neil enable a better work environment to help him contain turnover and attract top talent. Moving forward, he ensures that pay is competitive and work is aligned with the employee’s goals. He also involves stakeholders to create development and growth opportunities for his team.
  • Be approachable and open: Erica first ensures she can gather all the details from the team members. She provides them with a safe space and comfort to express their concern and ensures that action will be taken. She supports the targeted team members, such as access to counselling or other resources.
  • Adopt and follow an official policy: Developing and enforcing anti-discrimination policies that clearly state the organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is the first step to creating a safe workplace. Erica refers to the policy and takes immediate action accordingly, including a thorough investigation.
  • Reiterating commitment and goals: Providing diversity and inclusion training to all team members to help them understand the impact of discrimination and how to prevent it is essential to create a safe workplace. Erica ensures that the team members are aware of the provisions, the DEI goals set by the organization, and 
  • Connect with the team: Andrew starts by conducting one-on-one meetings with team members to understand their personal and professional goals, challenges, and strengths. Observing team dynamics and identifying any issues or obstacles hindering motivation and productivity also helps.
  • Involving team members in the process: Seeking feedback from team members on what motivates them and what they want to see from their manager to feel more inspired.
  • Enabling and empowering: Offering opportunities for growth and development, such as training, mentoring, or leadership roles, helped Andrew contribute to his team’s development. 
  • Take help from Merlin: Andrew reached out to Merlin, the AI chatbot of Risely, to get tips whenever he got stuck. Merlin sought details about his issues and shared some tips to help out Andrew. Here is what it looked like: 

andrew motivating a new team

  • Develop a problem-solving process: To get problem-solving right for multiple scenarios repeatedly, the key is to remember and set a problem-solving approach that works across the board. A wide-ranged problem-solving process that begins with identification and concludes at the resolution helps managers navigate various challenges the profession throws us. 
  • Learn to identify problems: The key to solving problems is placing them at the right moment. If you let some problems pester for long, they can become more significant issues for the teams. Hence, building the understanding to identify issues is essential for managers.
  • Think from multiple perspectives: As a problem-solver, you must care for various parties and stakeholders. Thus, thinking from numerous perspectives and considering ideas from a broad spectrum of people is a core skill. 
  • Consistently work on skills: Like other managerial skills, problem-solving skills need constant practice and review. Over time, your skills can become more robust with the help of assessments and toolkits. Tools like Risely can help you with resources and constant guidance to overcome managerial challenges. Check out Risely today to start reaching your true potential.

problem solving scenarios

Suprabha Sharma

Suprabha, a versatile professional who blends expertise in human resources and psychology, bridges the divide between people management and personal growth with her novel perspectives at Risely. Her experience as a human resource professional has empowered her to visualize practical solutions for frequent managerial challenges that form the pivot of her writings.

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problem solving in work examples

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  • Turn your team into skilled problem sol ...

Turn your team into skilled problem solvers with these problem-solving strategies

Sarah Laoyan contributor headshot

Picture this, you're handling your daily tasks at work and your boss calls you in and says, "We have a problem." 

Unfortunately, we don't live in a world in which problems are instantly resolved with the snap of our fingers. Knowing how to effectively solve problems is an important professional skill to hone. If you have a problem that needs to be solved, what is the right process to use to ensure you get the most effective solution?

In this article we'll break down the problem-solving process and how you can find the most effective solutions for complex problems.

What is problem solving? 

Problem solving is the process of finding a resolution for a specific issue or conflict. There are many possible solutions for solving a problem, which is why it's important to go through a problem-solving process to find the best solution. You could use a flathead screwdriver to unscrew a Phillips head screw, but there is a better tool for the situation. Utilizing common problem-solving techniques helps you find the best solution to fit the needs of the specific situation, much like using the right tools.

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4 steps to better problem solving

While it might be tempting to dive into a problem head first, take the time to move step by step. Here’s how you can effectively break down the problem-solving process with your team:

1. Identify the problem that needs to be solved

One of the easiest ways to identify a problem is to ask questions. A good place to start is to ask journalistic questions, like:

Who : Who is involved with this problem? Who caused the problem? Who is most affected by this issue?

What: What is happening? What is the extent of the issue? What does this problem prevent from moving forward?

Where: Where did this problem take place? Does this problem affect anything else in the immediate area? 

When: When did this problem happen? When does this problem take effect? Is this an urgent issue that needs to be solved within a certain timeframe?

Why: Why is it happening? Why does it impact workflows?

How: How did this problem occur? How is it affecting workflows and team members from being productive?

Asking journalistic questions can help you define a strong problem statement so you can highlight the current situation objectively, and create a plan around that situation.

Here’s an example of how a design team uses journalistic questions to identify their problem:

Overarching problem: Design requests are being missed

Who: Design team, digital marketing team, web development team

What: Design requests are forgotten, lost, or being created ad hoc.

Where: Email requests, design request spreadsheet

When: Missed requests on January 20th, January 31st, February 4th, February 6th

How : Email request was lost in inbox and the intake spreadsheet was not updated correctly. The digital marketing team had to delay launching ads for a few days while design requests were bottlenecked. Designers had to work extra hours to ensure all requests were completed.

In this example, there are many different aspects of this problem that can be solved. Using journalistic questions can help you identify different issues and who you should involve in the process.

2. Brainstorm multiple solutions

If at all possible, bring in a facilitator who doesn't have a major stake in the solution. Bringing an individual who has little-to-no stake in the matter can help keep your team on track and encourage good problem-solving skills.

Here are a few brainstorming techniques to encourage creative thinking:

Brainstorm alone before hand: Before you come together as a group, provide some context to your team on what exactly the issue is that you're brainstorming. This will give time for you and your teammates to have some ideas ready by the time you meet.

Say yes to everything (at first): When you first start brainstorming, don't say no to any ideas just yet—try to get as many ideas down as possible. Having as many ideas as possible ensures that you’ll get a variety of solutions. Save the trimming for the next step of the strategy. 

Talk to team members one-on-one: Some people may be less comfortable sharing their ideas in a group setting. Discuss the issue with team members individually and encourage them to share their opinions without restrictions—you might find some more detailed insights than originally anticipated.

Break out of your routine: If you're used to brainstorming in a conference room or over Zoom calls, do something a little different! Take your brainstorming meeting to a coffee shop or have your Zoom call while you're taking a walk. Getting out of your routine can force your brain out of its usual rut and increase critical thinking.

3. Define the solution

After you brainstorm with team members to get their unique perspectives on a scenario, it's time to look at the different strategies and decide which option is the best solution for the problem at hand. When defining the solution, consider these main two questions: What is the desired outcome of this solution and who stands to benefit from this solution? 

Set a deadline for when this decision needs to be made and update stakeholders accordingly. Sometimes there's too many people who need to make a decision. Use your best judgement based on the limitations provided to do great things fast.

4. Implement the solution

To implement your solution, start by working with the individuals who are as closest to the problem. This can help those most affected by the problem get unblocked. Then move farther out to those who are less affected, and so on and so forth. Some solutions are simple enough that you don’t need to work through multiple teams.

After you prioritize implementation with the right teams, assign out the ongoing work that needs to be completed by the rest of the team. This can prevent people from becoming overburdened during the implementation plan . Once your solution is in place, schedule check-ins to see how the solution is working and course-correct if necessary.

Implement common problem-solving strategies

There are a few ways to go about identifying problems (and solutions). Here are some strategies you can try, as well as common ways to apply them:

Trial and error

Trial and error problem solving doesn't usually require a whole team of people to solve. To use trial and error problem solving, identify the cause of the problem, and then rapidly test possible solutions to see if anything changes. 

This problem-solving method is often used in tech support teams through troubleshooting.

The 5 whys problem-solving method helps get to the root cause of an issue. You start by asking once, “Why did this issue happen?” After answering the first why, ask again, “Why did that happen?” You'll do this five times until you can attribute the problem to a root cause. 

This technique can help you dig in and find the human error that caused something to go wrong. More importantly, it also helps you and your team develop an actionable plan so that you can prevent the issue from happening again.

Here’s an example:

Problem: The email marketing campaign was accidentally sent to the wrong audience.

“Why did this happen?” Because the audience name was not updated in our email platform.

“Why were the audience names not changed?” Because the audience segment was not renamed after editing. 

“Why was the audience segment not renamed?” Because everybody has an individual way of creating an audience segment.

“Why does everybody have an individual way of creating an audience segment?” Because there is no standardized process for creating audience segments. 

“Why is there no standardized process for creating audience segments?” Because the team hasn't decided on a way to standardize the process as the team introduced new members. 

In this example, we can see a few areas that could be optimized to prevent this mistake from happening again. When working through these questions, make sure that everyone who was involved in the situation is present so that you can co-create next steps to avoid the same problem. 

A SWOT analysis

A SWOT analysis can help you highlight the strengths and weaknesses of a specific solution. SWOT stands for:

Strength: Why is this specific solution a good fit for this problem? 

Weaknesses: What are the weak points of this solution? Is there anything that you can do to strengthen those weaknesses?

Opportunities: What other benefits could arise from implementing this solution?

Threats: Is there anything about this decision that can detrimentally impact your team?

As you identify specific solutions, you can highlight the different strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of each solution. 

This particular problem-solving strategy is good to use when you're narrowing down the answers and need to compare and contrast the differences between different solutions. 

Even more successful problem solving

After you’ve worked through a tough problem, don't forget to celebrate how far you've come. Not only is this important for your team of problem solvers to see their work in action, but this can also help you become a more efficient, effective , and flexible team. The more problems you tackle together, the more you’ll achieve. 

Looking for a tool to help solve problems on your team? Track project implementation with a work management tool like Asana .

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10 Best Examples Of Problem-Solving Skills For Interviews

March 13, 2023 by Hannah Morgan

Being prepared to speak about your problem-solving skills is essential if you want to be a competitive applicant for any job. But many job-seekers aren’t sure where to start!

Example of problem-solving skills

This guide will help you come up with great examples of your problem-solving skills, so you can impress the interviewer.

Table of contents

The importance of demonstrating problem-solving skills, tips for sharing examples of problem-solving in the workplace, problem-solving examples, how to find examples if this is your first job.

Problem-solving skills are a critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to your success in any position. Things often veer off course and rarely go according to the plans you make on the job. Because of this, employers want to hire people who can pivot when necessary and resolve problems quickly and efficiently.

Showcasing your problem-solving skills to interviewers is a great way to prove you’re up for any challenge. It’s about showing that you know how to assess a situation, identify issues that arise, get to the root of those problems, and take the necessary steps with available resources to finesse your way out of any pickle. Highlighting your ability to navigate tough situations reassures hiring managers that you’re well-equipped to serve the company’s bottom line no matter what.

It’s an essential skill that will serve you well in any industry. From entry-level jobs up to C-suite executive roles, knowing how to solve problems will take you far.

Interviewers may ask you directly to provide examples of your problem-solving skills in action. Alternatively, they may use a series of questions to gauge your ability to overcome hurdles. Either way, you should use every opportunity to provide examples and prove that you’re capable of filling the role and using your skills to succeed.

There are many ways to discuss your problem-solving skills in the workplace. However, some examples are more effective than others. Follow these tips to choose moments that are impactful enough to leave a lasting impression.

1. Pick Examples That are Relevant to the Position You Want

The best approach when sharing examples is to choose situations that are relevant to the job you want to get. Think about the role and its responsibilities. Study the job description and research as much as you can about what this role entails.

Your goal is to identify common problems you’ll face if offered the position. Some examples are easily translatable across industries. For example, everyone’s had to deal with difficult clients or navigate tight deadlines.

If you want to deliver a memorable answer, choose unique examples that easily tie into the position. Maybe you faced similar challenges in roles you’ve already held in this industry. Or, you might want to provide examples that speak to common hurdles the hiring managers are all-too-familiar tackling.

Keep it related to the position you are interviewing for to make things easier for hiring decision-makers to envision you working in this position. It’s your chance to show precisely how you’d react to the challenges you face in this position.

2. Explain the Process

When giving your example, do more than keep it high level. You want to set the stage, provide some context, and fully explain your process and the skills you used.

That’s what hiring managers are interested in learning more about when speaking to you. Anyone can say they’ve experienced problems and fixed them. That doesn’t provide any meat to your response and barely scratches the surface of what interviewers want to know. (This is a great time to use the STAR interview method ). 

Employers are interested in learning about your approach to problem-solving. What steps do you take to find a solution? Do you throw everything at the wall until something sticks? Or are you more methodical?

Hopefully, you’re the latter. Go into detail about what you do to navigate tough situations and find the solutions that work. Let them into your thought process and show them how you operate when push comes to shove.

3. Be Prepared for Follow-Up Questions

If there’s any time that interviewers will ask for follow-ups, it’ll be when talking about your problem-solving skills. This is their chance to poke for more information and gain deeper insight into your methods. You can expect follow-ups.

Don’t find yourself looking like a deer caught in the headlights.

Think about your examples and refresh your memory as much as possible. Because you’re preparing before your interview, consider taking notes about those examples.

Recall specific details. Use the acronym PEPI (Productivity, Efficiency, Profitability, Impact) to quantify your answer. Use values such as dollars or percentage saved, number of people impacted, or time saved.

It’s impossible to know what interviewers will ask, so you need to be well-versed in the events you are talking about. It would be best to remember it as clear as day so that you’re fully prepared to answer any follow-up questions.

4. Keep It Positive

Our final tip is to keep things positive.

Everyone has come up short when trying to resolve a problem. Those moments are teachable and help you grow as a person. But should you talk about them during your interview?

Ideally, you should stick to problem-solving examples with positive outcomes. And never blame or bad-mouth others. Leave out the fact that your boss was a micromanager or that the client had unrealistic expectations. Instead, focus on how the challenging situation helped in your professional development.

Go over what you learned and how you did things differently to make future problems smoother. Employers love to see growth and initiative. Ending on a positive note can make your response memorable while indicating that you’re not done learning.

You should also touch on what positive outcomes came from your efforts. That could be something as simple as avoiding disaster for your company or as impactful as increasing revenue. Highlighting your contributions can make interviewers want you even more.

Need some inspiration? The problem-solving scenarios you discuss should be unique to your own experiences, but we have also provided some solid examples you can use as a jumping-off point.

Budgetary Challenges

Here’s a common problem you’ll have to overcome at many jobs. Whether you work in sales or marketing, budget restrictions can severely impact how you work.

Companies operate on limited budgets, and you must often find creative solutions to maximize your resource spending to create a killer final product. This example works because it demonstrates a desired skill: Resourcefulness.

You can provide a real-world example of problem-solving where you had to get resourceful with your work without sacrificing productivity or quality. Detail how you developed a plan of attack, where you found ways to save, and the results of your work.

Using budgetary restrictions as an example of problem-solving shows that you can work with what you have. It reassures hiring managers that you can make the most out of any budget and aren’t afraid to get resourceful when necessary.

Taking Initiative

Another great example you can use is to talk about a time when you took the initiative to meet with a supervisor about a problem you anticipated.

This is a situation that can determine how successful any given employee is. Your goal is to maximize profits and maintain efficient operations. If you see something that’s not right, employers want you to take action.

That’s why this problem-solving example works so well. Not only does it give you a chance to talk about how you discovered the problem and what steps you took to resolve it, but it shows that you have the initiative to do something, even if it’s outside your wheelhouse.

Detail the problem and explain how you discovered it. Then, go into how you broached the issue with your immediate supervisor and how your initiative saved your company from a major disaster. Think critically about the cost savings this saved the company. 

Correcting Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes. But not everyone is willing to admit they did or take steps to resolve the subsequent problems they cause.

This example is a fantastic way to show hiring managers that you do not ignore the problems you create. It takes a lot of guts to own up to your mistakes, let alone talk about them openly during a job interview. Usually, the goal would be to avoid discussing anything that could paint you in a bad light.

But this is an exception.

Reflect on the mistake and detail how you discovered it. Then, share what actions you took. How did you get to the root of the problem, and what did you do to resolve it? You don’t need to go deep into the details of the problem. Instead, focus on the steps you took to correct the misstep.

Don’t be afraid to discuss the self-inflicted nature of the issue. However, make sure to emphasize the positive outcome and touch on the lessons you learned to avoid similar problems in the future.

Navigating Timeline Issues

Scheduling conflicts are another common occurrence in the workplace. Deadlines can pile up, forcing you to reevaluate your time-management skills or be at risk of delivering subpar work.

A good way to talk about your problem-solving skills is to reference when you had to actively change how you prioritize your work . Consider sharing a situation where the timelines were stressful, and the resources were too tight to pass your work to someone else.

Explain how you discovered that your workload was too much to handle. Then, detail what you did to reassess and reprioritize. Highlight the changes you made and why they were impactful. 

End on a positive note to show the good results of your problem-solving skills. Include the value of getting the project back on track. You can also bring up the lessons you learned and how this situation helped you evolve as an employee and avoid similar problems in the future.

Project Rejuvenation

Sometimes, projects experience a rough start. This is especially true if you’re working on a multi-department effort that requires coordination between multiple teams.

That means a great example of problem-solving skills is talking about a time when you helped turn a project around for the better. Reflect on a situation that required your direct intervention to turn around.

This example is superb because it shows you know how to solve issues under intense pressure. It also proves that you’re capable of interdepartmental collaboration and can overcome hurdles that cause others to falter.

Describe how you reinvigorated the project by meeting with every department and explaining how the effort was at risk of falling behind. Explain your communication process and what changes you implemented to get everything back on track. Perhaps you created a new deliverables timeline and scheduled follow-up meetings to check progress.

End on the positive results and how the finished project benefited from your intervention. Use specific numbers or percentages to emphasize time saved. 

Taking Action to Get Clarity

Here’s a suitable example for those who don’t have much real-world experience. Though, you can adjust the example if you have a similar story about on-the-job challenges.

In this example, you can talk about a time when you had to speak up to get clarity, despite seemingly being the only one confused about what was expected of you.

It’s a common scenario that occurs in meetings. You may sit through part of a presentation being utterly confused about the subject matter. You’re probably not the only one, but no one else feels like speaking up to ask questions.

Describe how you took the initiative to make sure everything was crystal clear. Talk about how you spoke up in the room or scheduled a meeting with your manager to ensure that you’re all on the same page. Also, think about including what didn’t happen. It could have extended a timeline by days or cost the company tens of thousands of dollars. 

It sounds like a simple enough solution, but it’s one that many fail to reach.

New Insights

We live in a data-heavy world, and organizations often use data to guide their decision-making. But it’s not a perfect science.

Companies can make sweeping changes based on outdated or biased information. One example you can use to display your problem-solving skills is about a time when you found additional insights that changed how your company moved forward with a big decision.

Whether you were in charge of data acquisition or not, you might have taken the initiative because you felt the information provided was inaccurate.

Describe how you came to that conclusion and why you felt the company was headed in the wrong direction. What were the red flags, and how did you get to the core of the problem?

Detail what you did to obtain the proper research and present it to key decision-makers. End on a positive outcome, and be sure to include the cost savings this had for your company. This helps you prove you’re an asset to the company you’re currently interviewing for.

Increasing Profit

Here’s an example hiring managers would love to hear more about during your interview.

If you have a moment from your past that allowed you to directly boost company profits, don’t hesitate to discuss it! Employers want to hear about major contributions like this because it shows how you can be an asset to the bottom line.

Think about when you realized you could find ways to make new or existing products more profitable. Your plan might have involved adjustments to current sales strategies, the development of new marketing initiatives, innovative sales ideas, etc.

Whatever the case, describe how you found room for growth. Explain your thought process and go into detail about how you pitched your ideas to sales leaders. Quantify the profit you contributed by bringing the idea forward. l 

Once again, this example is about problem-solving and taking action. Furthermore, it highlights your creative thinking and illustrates a relevant skill that can make a difference in a sales-focused job.

Improving Operations

Far too many people are content with doing things the way they’ve always been done. It’s fear of “rocking the boat” or hesitation to make pitches that fall outside standard job responsibilities.

An example of problem-solving that involves you making suggestions on how to streamline and improve operations can leave a lasting impact on hiring managers. These examples work because they show how you solved a relevant problem in any industry. Every organization can benefit from better efficiency.

Talk about the problems you noticed and how they affected the bottom line. Detail how you came to that conclusion and what rabbit holes you followed to get there. Describe the root of the problem and what ideas you bounced around to solve it.

Whether it was a simple change that resulted in substantial operational cost savings or an exploration into brand-new tools that took productivity through the roof, use numbers to prove your point. This example can significantly improve your chances of continuing in the hiring process.

Boosting Communication

Our final example of problem-solving is to talk about a situation when a former company was in dire need of better communication. Maybe important information got lost by the wayside due to a lack of a centralized communication hub. Or perhaps the managerial hierarchy left too much room for miscommunication.

Whatever the case, showing that you know how to solve communication barriers can work in your favor. Good communication is crucial to the success of countless industries. Detailing how you solved these problems can make you look like a skilled innovator ready to tackle the organization’s current issues.

Explain how you discovered the communication errors and what it took to understand your company’s core problem. Describe the changes you recommended and how they ultimately improved efficiency for the organization.

If this is your first job, you may feel that you don’t have enough work experience to provide meaningful examples of your problem-solving skills.

But that’s not the case. There are plenty of non-work related avenues to go.

Think about your education. You may have experience working in a collaborative environment rife with issues. Or, you could have experienced workload management problems that forced you to reevaluate and find solutions that helped you stay on top of your responsibilities.

You can also reflect on volunteering opportunities, internships, and even part-time jobs you held during your education. Get creative and think outside the job to develop examples illustrating your problem-solving skills.

Being ready to give examples of your problem-solving skills in action will go a long way when it comes to getting a job offer.

If you follow our recommendations and use our examples for inspiration, you’ll be well on your way!

Hannah Morgan Career Sherpa

Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including  Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success .

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35 problem-solving techniques and methods for solving complex problems

Problem solving workshop

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All teams and organizations encounter challenges as they grow. There are problems that might occur for teams when it comes to miscommunication or resolving business-critical issues . You may face challenges around growth , design , user engagement, and even team culture and happiness. In short, problem-solving techniques should be part of every team’s skillset.

Problem-solving methods are primarily designed to help a group or team through a process of first identifying problems and challenges , ideating possible solutions , and then evaluating the most suitable .

Finding effective solutions to complex problems isn’t easy, but by using the right process and techniques, you can help your team be more efficient in the process.

So how do you develop strategies that are engaging, and empower your team to solve problems effectively?

In this blog post, we share a series of problem-solving tools you can use in your next workshop or team meeting. You’ll also find some tips for facilitating the process and how to enable others to solve complex problems.

Let’s get started! 

How do you identify problems?

How do you identify the right solution.

  • Tips for more effective problem-solving

Complete problem-solving methods

  • Problem-solving techniques to identify and analyze problems
  • Problem-solving techniques for developing solutions

Problem-solving warm-up activities

Closing activities for a problem-solving process.

Before you can move towards finding the right solution for a given problem, you first need to identify and define the problem you wish to solve. 

Here, you want to clearly articulate what the problem is and allow your group to do the same. Remember that everyone in a group is likely to have differing perspectives and alignment is necessary in order to help the group move forward. 

Identifying a problem accurately also requires that all members of a group are able to contribute their views in an open and safe manner. It can be scary for people to stand up and contribute, especially if the problems or challenges are emotive or personal in nature. Be sure to try and create a psychologically safe space for these kinds of discussions.

Remember that problem analysis and further discussion are also important. Not taking the time to fully analyze and discuss a challenge can result in the development of solutions that are not fit for purpose or do not address the underlying issue.

Successfully identifying and then analyzing a problem means facilitating a group through activities designed to help them clearly and honestly articulate their thoughts and produce usable insight.

With this data, you might then produce a problem statement that clearly describes the problem you wish to be addressed and also state the goal of any process you undertake to tackle this issue.  

Finding solutions is the end goal of any process. Complex organizational challenges can only be solved with an appropriate solution but discovering them requires using the right problem-solving tool.

After you’ve explored a problem and discussed ideas, you need to help a team discuss and choose the right solution. Consensus tools and methods such as those below help a group explore possible solutions before then voting for the best. They’re a great way to tap into the collective intelligence of the group for great results!

Remember that the process is often iterative. Great problem solvers often roadtest a viable solution in a measured way to see what works too. While you might not get the right solution on your first try, the methods below help teams land on the most likely to succeed solution while also holding space for improvement.

Every effective problem solving process begins with an agenda . A well-structured workshop is one of the best methods for successfully guiding a group from exploring a problem to implementing a solution.

In SessionLab, it’s easy to go from an idea to a complete agenda . Start by dragging and dropping your core problem solving activities into place . Add timings, breaks and necessary materials before sharing your agenda with your colleagues.

The resulting agenda will be your guide to an effective and productive problem solving session that will also help you stay organized on the day!

problem solving in work examples

Tips for more effective problem solving

Problem-solving activities are only one part of the puzzle. While a great method can help unlock your team’s ability to solve problems, without a thoughtful approach and strong facilitation the solutions may not be fit for purpose.

Let’s take a look at some problem-solving tips you can apply to any process to help it be a success!

Clearly define the problem

Jumping straight to solutions can be tempting, though without first clearly articulating a problem, the solution might not be the right one. Many of the problem-solving activities below include sections where the problem is explored and clearly defined before moving on.

This is a vital part of the problem-solving process and taking the time to fully define an issue can save time and effort later. A clear definition helps identify irrelevant information and it also ensures that your team sets off on the right track.

Don’t jump to conclusions

It’s easy for groups to exhibit cognitive bias or have preconceived ideas about both problems and potential solutions. Be sure to back up any problem statements or potential solutions with facts, research, and adequate forethought.

The best techniques ask participants to be methodical and challenge preconceived notions. Make sure you give the group enough time and space to collect relevant information and consider the problem in a new way. By approaching the process with a clear, rational mindset, you’ll often find that better solutions are more forthcoming.  

Try different approaches  

Problems come in all shapes and sizes and so too should the methods you use to solve them. If you find that one approach isn’t yielding results and your team isn’t finding different solutions, try mixing it up. You’ll be surprised at how using a new creative activity can unblock your team and generate great solutions.

Don’t take it personally 

Depending on the nature of your team or organizational problems, it’s easy for conversations to get heated. While it’s good for participants to be engaged in the discussions, ensure that emotions don’t run too high and that blame isn’t thrown around while finding solutions.

You’re all in it together, and even if your team or area is seeing problems, that isn’t necessarily a disparagement of you personally. Using facilitation skills to manage group dynamics is one effective method of helping conversations be more constructive.

Get the right people in the room

Your problem-solving method is often only as effective as the group using it. Getting the right people on the job and managing the number of people present is important too!

If the group is too small, you may not get enough different perspectives to effectively solve a problem. If the group is too large, you can go round and round during the ideation stages.

Creating the right group makeup is also important in ensuring you have the necessary expertise and skillset to both identify and follow up on potential solutions. Carefully consider who to include at each stage to help ensure your problem-solving method is followed and positioned for success.

Document everything

The best solutions can take refinement, iteration, and reflection to come out. Get into a habit of documenting your process in order to keep all the learnings from the session and to allow ideas to mature and develop. Many of the methods below involve the creation of documents or shared resources. Be sure to keep and share these so everyone can benefit from the work done!

Bring a facilitator 

Facilitation is all about making group processes easier. With a subject as potentially emotive and important as problem-solving, having an impartial third party in the form of a facilitator can make all the difference in finding great solutions and keeping the process moving. Consider bringing a facilitator to your problem-solving session to get better results and generate meaningful solutions!

Develop your problem-solving skills

It takes time and practice to be an effective problem solver. While some roles or participants might more naturally gravitate towards problem-solving, it can take development and planning to help everyone create better solutions.

You might develop a training program, run a problem-solving workshop or simply ask your team to practice using the techniques below. Check out our post on problem-solving skills to see how you and your group can develop the right mental process and be more resilient to issues too!

Design a great agenda

Workshops are a great format for solving problems. With the right approach, you can focus a group and help them find the solutions to their own problems. But designing a process can be time-consuming and finding the right activities can be difficult.

Check out our workshop planning guide to level-up your agenda design and start running more effective workshops. Need inspiration? Check out templates designed by expert facilitators to help you kickstart your process!

In this section, we’ll look at in-depth problem-solving methods that provide a complete end-to-end process for developing effective solutions. These will help guide your team from the discovery and definition of a problem through to delivering the right solution.

If you’re looking for an all-encompassing method or problem-solving model, these processes are a great place to start. They’ll ask your team to challenge preconceived ideas and adopt a mindset for solving problems more effectively.

  • Six Thinking Hats
  • Lightning Decision Jam
  • Problem Definition Process
  • Discovery & Action Dialogue
Design Sprint 2.0
  • Open Space Technology

1. Six Thinking Hats

Individual approaches to solving a problem can be very different based on what team or role an individual holds. It can be easy for existing biases or perspectives to find their way into the mix, or for internal politics to direct a conversation.

Six Thinking Hats is a classic method for identifying the problems that need to be solved and enables your team to consider them from different angles, whether that is by focusing on facts and data, creative solutions, or by considering why a particular solution might not work.

Like all problem-solving frameworks, Six Thinking Hats is effective at helping teams remove roadblocks from a conversation or discussion and come to terms with all the aspects necessary to solve complex problems.

2. Lightning Decision Jam

Featured courtesy of Jonathan Courtney of AJ&Smart Berlin, Lightning Decision Jam is one of those strategies that should be in every facilitation toolbox. Exploring problems and finding solutions is often creative in nature, though as with any creative process, there is the potential to lose focus and get lost.

Unstructured discussions might get you there in the end, but it’s much more effective to use a method that creates a clear process and team focus.

In Lightning Decision Jam, participants are invited to begin by writing challenges, concerns, or mistakes on post-its without discussing them before then being invited by the moderator to present them to the group.

From there, the team vote on which problems to solve and are guided through steps that will allow them to reframe those problems, create solutions and then decide what to execute on. 

By deciding the problems that need to be solved as a team before moving on, this group process is great for ensuring the whole team is aligned and can take ownership over the next stages. 

Lightning Decision Jam (LDJ)   #action   #decision making   #problem solving   #issue analysis   #innovation   #design   #remote-friendly   The problem with anything that requires creative thinking is that it’s easy to get lost—lose focus and fall into the trap of having useless, open-ended, unstructured discussions. Here’s the most effective solution I’ve found: Replace all open, unstructured discussion with a clear process. What to use this exercise for: Anything which requires a group of people to make decisions, solve problems or discuss challenges. It’s always good to frame an LDJ session with a broad topic, here are some examples: The conversion flow of our checkout Our internal design process How we organise events Keeping up with our competition Improving sales flow

3. Problem Definition Process

While problems can be complex, the problem-solving methods you use to identify and solve those problems can often be simple in design. 

By taking the time to truly identify and define a problem before asking the group to reframe the challenge as an opportunity, this method is a great way to enable change.

Begin by identifying a focus question and exploring the ways in which it manifests before splitting into five teams who will each consider the problem using a different method: escape, reversal, exaggeration, distortion or wishful. Teams develop a problem objective and create ideas in line with their method before then feeding them back to the group.

This method is great for enabling in-depth discussions while also creating space for finding creative solutions too!

Problem Definition   #problem solving   #idea generation   #creativity   #online   #remote-friendly   A problem solving technique to define a problem, challenge or opportunity and to generate ideas.

4. The 5 Whys 

Sometimes, a group needs to go further with their strategies and analyze the root cause at the heart of organizational issues. An RCA or root cause analysis is the process of identifying what is at the heart of business problems or recurring challenges. 

The 5 Whys is a simple and effective method of helping a group go find the root cause of any problem or challenge and conduct analysis that will deliver results. 

By beginning with the creation of a problem statement and going through five stages to refine it, The 5 Whys provides everything you need to truly discover the cause of an issue.

The 5 Whys   #hyperisland   #innovation   This simple and powerful method is useful for getting to the core of a problem or challenge. As the title suggests, the group defines a problems, then asks the question “why” five times, often using the resulting explanation as a starting point for creative problem solving.

5. World Cafe

World Cafe is a simple but powerful facilitation technique to help bigger groups to focus their energy and attention on solving complex problems.

World Cafe enables this approach by creating a relaxed atmosphere where participants are able to self-organize and explore topics relevant and important to them which are themed around a central problem-solving purpose. Create the right atmosphere by modeling your space after a cafe and after guiding the group through the method, let them take the lead!

Making problem-solving a part of your organization’s culture in the long term can be a difficult undertaking. More approachable formats like World Cafe can be especially effective in bringing people unfamiliar with workshops into the fold. 

World Cafe   #hyperisland   #innovation   #issue analysis   World Café is a simple yet powerful method, originated by Juanita Brown, for enabling meaningful conversations driven completely by participants and the topics that are relevant and important to them. Facilitators create a cafe-style space and provide simple guidelines. Participants then self-organize and explore a set of relevant topics or questions for conversation.

6. Discovery & Action Dialogue (DAD)

One of the best approaches is to create a safe space for a group to share and discover practices and behaviors that can help them find their own solutions.

With DAD, you can help a group choose which problems they wish to solve and which approaches they will take to do so. It’s great at helping remove resistance to change and can help get buy-in at every level too!

This process of enabling frontline ownership is great in ensuring follow-through and is one of the methods you will want in your toolbox as a facilitator.

Discovery & Action Dialogue (DAD)   #idea generation   #liberating structures   #action   #issue analysis   #remote-friendly   DADs make it easy for a group or community to discover practices and behaviors that enable some individuals (without access to special resources and facing the same constraints) to find better solutions than their peers to common problems. These are called positive deviant (PD) behaviors and practices. DADs make it possible for people in the group, unit, or community to discover by themselves these PD practices. DADs also create favorable conditions for stimulating participants’ creativity in spaces where they can feel safe to invent new and more effective practices. Resistance to change evaporates as participants are unleashed to choose freely which practices they will adopt or try and which problems they will tackle. DADs make it possible to achieve frontline ownership of solutions.

7. Design Sprint 2.0

Want to see how a team can solve big problems and move forward with prototyping and testing solutions in a few days? The Design Sprint 2.0 template from Jake Knapp, author of Sprint, is a complete agenda for a with proven results.

Developing the right agenda can involve difficult but necessary planning. Ensuring all the correct steps are followed can also be stressful or time-consuming depending on your level of experience.

Use this complete 4-day workshop template if you are finding there is no obvious solution to your challenge and want to focus your team around a specific problem that might require a shortcut to launching a minimum viable product or waiting for the organization-wide implementation of a solution.

8. Open space technology

Open space technology- developed by Harrison Owen – creates a space where large groups are invited to take ownership of their problem solving and lead individual sessions. Open space technology is a great format when you have a great deal of expertise and insight in the room and want to allow for different takes and approaches on a particular theme or problem you need to be solved.

Start by bringing your participants together to align around a central theme and focus their efforts. Explain the ground rules to help guide the problem-solving process and then invite members to identify any issue connecting to the central theme that they are interested in and are prepared to take responsibility for.

Once participants have decided on their approach to the core theme, they write their issue on a piece of paper, announce it to the group, pick a session time and place, and post the paper on the wall. As the wall fills up with sessions, the group is then invited to join the sessions that interest them the most and which they can contribute to, then you’re ready to begin!

Everyone joins the problem-solving group they’ve signed up to, record the discussion and if appropriate, findings can then be shared with the rest of the group afterward.

Open Space Technology   #action plan   #idea generation   #problem solving   #issue analysis   #large group   #online   #remote-friendly   Open Space is a methodology for large groups to create their agenda discerning important topics for discussion, suitable for conferences, community gatherings and whole system facilitation

Techniques to identify and analyze problems

Using a problem-solving method to help a team identify and analyze a problem can be a quick and effective addition to any workshop or meeting.

While further actions are always necessary, you can generate momentum and alignment easily, and these activities are a great place to get started.

We’ve put together this list of techniques to help you and your team with problem identification, analysis, and discussion that sets the foundation for developing effective solutions.

Let’s take a look!

  • The Creativity Dice
  • Fishbone Analysis
  • Problem Tree
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Agreement-Certainty Matrix
  • The Journalistic Six
  • LEGO Challenge
  • What, So What, Now What?
  • Journalists

Individual and group perspectives are incredibly important, but what happens if people are set in their minds and need a change of perspective in order to approach a problem more effectively?

Flip It is a method we love because it is both simple to understand and run, and allows groups to understand how their perspectives and biases are formed. 

Participants in Flip It are first invited to consider concerns, issues, or problems from a perspective of fear and write them on a flip chart. Then, the group is asked to consider those same issues from a perspective of hope and flip their understanding.  

No problem and solution is free from existing bias and by changing perspectives with Flip It, you can then develop a problem solving model quickly and effectively.

Flip It!   #gamestorming   #problem solving   #action   Often, a change in a problem or situation comes simply from a change in our perspectives. Flip It! is a quick game designed to show players that perspectives are made, not born.

10. The Creativity Dice

One of the most useful problem solving skills you can teach your team is of approaching challenges with creativity, flexibility, and openness. Games like The Creativity Dice allow teams to overcome the potential hurdle of too much linear thinking and approach the process with a sense of fun and speed. 

In The Creativity Dice, participants are organized around a topic and roll a dice to determine what they will work on for a period of 3 minutes at a time. They might roll a 3 and work on investigating factual information on the chosen topic. They might roll a 1 and work on identifying the specific goals, standards, or criteria for the session.

Encouraging rapid work and iteration while asking participants to be flexible are great skills to cultivate. Having a stage for idea incubation in this game is also important. Moments of pause can help ensure the ideas that are put forward are the most suitable. 

The Creativity Dice   #creativity   #problem solving   #thiagi   #issue analysis   Too much linear thinking is hazardous to creative problem solving. To be creative, you should approach the problem (or the opportunity) from different points of view. You should leave a thought hanging in mid-air and move to another. This skipping around prevents premature closure and lets your brain incubate one line of thought while you consciously pursue another.

11. Fishbone Analysis

Organizational or team challenges are rarely simple, and it’s important to remember that one problem can be an indication of something that goes deeper and may require further consideration to be solved.

Fishbone Analysis helps groups to dig deeper and understand the origins of a problem. It’s a great example of a root cause analysis method that is simple for everyone on a team to get their head around. 

Participants in this activity are asked to annotate a diagram of a fish, first adding the problem or issue to be worked on at the head of a fish before then brainstorming the root causes of the problem and adding them as bones on the fish. 

Using abstractions such as a diagram of a fish can really help a team break out of their regular thinking and develop a creative approach.

Fishbone Analysis   #problem solving   ##root cause analysis   #decision making   #online facilitation   A process to help identify and understand the origins of problems, issues or observations.

12. Problem Tree 

Encouraging visual thinking can be an essential part of many strategies. By simply reframing and clarifying problems, a group can move towards developing a problem solving model that works for them. 

In Problem Tree, groups are asked to first brainstorm a list of problems – these can be design problems, team problems or larger business problems – and then organize them into a hierarchy. The hierarchy could be from most important to least important or abstract to practical, though the key thing with problem solving games that involve this aspect is that your group has some way of managing and sorting all the issues that are raised.

Once you have a list of problems that need to be solved and have organized them accordingly, you’re then well-positioned for the next problem solving steps.

Problem tree   #define intentions   #create   #design   #issue analysis   A problem tree is a tool to clarify the hierarchy of problems addressed by the team within a design project; it represents high level problems or related sublevel problems.

13. SWOT Analysis

Chances are you’ve heard of the SWOT Analysis before. This problem-solving method focuses on identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats is a tried and tested method for both individuals and teams.

Start by creating a desired end state or outcome and bare this in mind – any process solving model is made more effective by knowing what you are moving towards. Create a quadrant made up of the four categories of a SWOT analysis and ask participants to generate ideas based on each of those quadrants.

Once you have those ideas assembled in their quadrants, cluster them together based on their affinity with other ideas. These clusters are then used to facilitate group conversations and move things forward. 

SWOT analysis   #gamestorming   #problem solving   #action   #meeting facilitation   The SWOT Analysis is a long-standing technique of looking at what we have, with respect to the desired end state, as well as what we could improve on. It gives us an opportunity to gauge approaching opportunities and dangers, and assess the seriousness of the conditions that affect our future. When we understand those conditions, we can influence what comes next.

14. Agreement-Certainty Matrix

Not every problem-solving approach is right for every challenge, and deciding on the right method for the challenge at hand is a key part of being an effective team.

The Agreement Certainty matrix helps teams align on the nature of the challenges facing them. By sorting problems from simple to chaotic, your team can understand what methods are suitable for each problem and what they can do to ensure effective results. 

If you are already using Liberating Structures techniques as part of your problem-solving strategy, the Agreement-Certainty Matrix can be an invaluable addition to your process. We’ve found it particularly if you are having issues with recurring problems in your organization and want to go deeper in understanding the root cause. 

Agreement-Certainty Matrix   #issue analysis   #liberating structures   #problem solving   You can help individuals or groups avoid the frequent mistake of trying to solve a problem with methods that are not adapted to the nature of their challenge. The combination of two questions makes it possible to easily sort challenges into four categories: simple, complicated, complex , and chaotic .  A problem is simple when it can be solved reliably with practices that are easy to duplicate.  It is complicated when experts are required to devise a sophisticated solution that will yield the desired results predictably.  A problem is complex when there are several valid ways to proceed but outcomes are not predictable in detail.  Chaotic is when the context is too turbulent to identify a path forward.  A loose analogy may be used to describe these differences: simple is like following a recipe, complicated like sending a rocket to the moon, complex like raising a child, and chaotic is like the game “Pin the Tail on the Donkey.”  The Liberating Structures Matching Matrix in Chapter 5 can be used as the first step to clarify the nature of a challenge and avoid the mismatches between problems and solutions that are frequently at the root of chronic, recurring problems.

Organizing and charting a team’s progress can be important in ensuring its success. SQUID (Sequential Question and Insight Diagram) is a great model that allows a team to effectively switch between giving questions and answers and develop the skills they need to stay on track throughout the process. 

Begin with two different colored sticky notes – one for questions and one for answers – and with your central topic (the head of the squid) on the board. Ask the group to first come up with a series of questions connected to their best guess of how to approach the topic. Ask the group to come up with answers to those questions, fix them to the board and connect them with a line. After some discussion, go back to question mode by responding to the generated answers or other points on the board.

It’s rewarding to see a diagram grow throughout the exercise, and a completed SQUID can provide a visual resource for future effort and as an example for other teams.

SQUID   #gamestorming   #project planning   #issue analysis   #problem solving   When exploring an information space, it’s important for a group to know where they are at any given time. By using SQUID, a group charts out the territory as they go and can navigate accordingly. SQUID stands for Sequential Question and Insight Diagram.

16. Speed Boat

To continue with our nautical theme, Speed Boat is a short and sweet activity that can help a team quickly identify what employees, clients or service users might have a problem with and analyze what might be standing in the way of achieving a solution.

Methods that allow for a group to make observations, have insights and obtain those eureka moments quickly are invaluable when trying to solve complex problems.

In Speed Boat, the approach is to first consider what anchors and challenges might be holding an organization (or boat) back. Bonus points if you are able to identify any sharks in the water and develop ideas that can also deal with competitors!   

Speed Boat   #gamestorming   #problem solving   #action   Speedboat is a short and sweet way to identify what your employees or clients don’t like about your product/service or what’s standing in the way of a desired goal.

17. The Journalistic Six

Some of the most effective ways of solving problems is by encouraging teams to be more inclusive and diverse in their thinking.

Based on the six key questions journalism students are taught to answer in articles and news stories, The Journalistic Six helps create teams to see the whole picture. By using who, what, when, where, why, and how to facilitate the conversation and encourage creative thinking, your team can make sure that the problem identification and problem analysis stages of the are covered exhaustively and thoughtfully. Reporter’s notebook and dictaphone optional.

The Journalistic Six – Who What When Where Why How   #idea generation   #issue analysis   #problem solving   #online   #creative thinking   #remote-friendly   A questioning method for generating, explaining, investigating ideas.

18. LEGO Challenge

Now for an activity that is a little out of the (toy) box. LEGO Serious Play is a facilitation methodology that can be used to improve creative thinking and problem-solving skills. 

The LEGO Challenge includes giving each member of the team an assignment that is hidden from the rest of the group while they create a structure without speaking.

What the LEGO challenge brings to the table is a fun working example of working with stakeholders who might not be on the same page to solve problems. Also, it’s LEGO! Who doesn’t love LEGO! 

LEGO Challenge   #hyperisland   #team   A team-building activity in which groups must work together to build a structure out of LEGO, but each individual has a secret “assignment” which makes the collaborative process more challenging. It emphasizes group communication, leadership dynamics, conflict, cooperation, patience and problem solving strategy.

19. What, So What, Now What?

If not carefully managed, the problem identification and problem analysis stages of the problem-solving process can actually create more problems and misunderstandings.

The What, So What, Now What? problem-solving activity is designed to help collect insights and move forward while also eliminating the possibility of disagreement when it comes to identifying, clarifying, and analyzing organizational or work problems. 

Facilitation is all about bringing groups together so that might work on a shared goal and the best problem-solving strategies ensure that teams are aligned in purpose, if not initially in opinion or insight.

Throughout the three steps of this game, you give everyone on a team to reflect on a problem by asking what happened, why it is important, and what actions should then be taken. 

This can be a great activity for bringing our individual perceptions about a problem or challenge and contextualizing it in a larger group setting. This is one of the most important problem-solving skills you can bring to your organization.

W³ – What, So What, Now What?   #issue analysis   #innovation   #liberating structures   You can help groups reflect on a shared experience in a way that builds understanding and spurs coordinated action while avoiding unproductive conflict. It is possible for every voice to be heard while simultaneously sifting for insights and shaping new direction. Progressing in stages makes this practical—from collecting facts about What Happened to making sense of these facts with So What and finally to what actions logically follow with Now What . The shared progression eliminates most of the misunderstandings that otherwise fuel disagreements about what to do. Voila!

20. Journalists  

Problem analysis can be one of the most important and decisive stages of all problem-solving tools. Sometimes, a team can become bogged down in the details and are unable to move forward.

Journalists is an activity that can avoid a group from getting stuck in the problem identification or problem analysis stages of the process.

In Journalists, the group is invited to draft the front page of a fictional newspaper and figure out what stories deserve to be on the cover and what headlines those stories will have. By reframing how your problems and challenges are approached, you can help a team move productively through the process and be better prepared for the steps to follow.

Journalists   #vision   #big picture   #issue analysis   #remote-friendly   This is an exercise to use when the group gets stuck in details and struggles to see the big picture. Also good for defining a vision.

Problem-solving techniques for developing solutions 

The success of any problem-solving process can be measured by the solutions it produces. After you’ve defined the issue, explored existing ideas, and ideated, it’s time to narrow down to the correct solution.

Use these problem-solving techniques when you want to help your team find consensus, compare possible solutions, and move towards taking action on a particular problem.

  • Improved Solutions
  • Four-Step Sketch
  • 15% Solutions
  • How-Now-Wow matrix
  • Impact Effort Matrix

21. Mindspin  

Brainstorming is part of the bread and butter of the problem-solving process and all problem-solving strategies benefit from getting ideas out and challenging a team to generate solutions quickly. 

With Mindspin, participants are encouraged not only to generate ideas but to do so under time constraints and by slamming down cards and passing them on. By doing multiple rounds, your team can begin with a free generation of possible solutions before moving on to developing those solutions and encouraging further ideation. 

This is one of our favorite problem-solving activities and can be great for keeping the energy up throughout the workshop. Remember the importance of helping people become engaged in the process – energizing problem-solving techniques like Mindspin can help ensure your team stays engaged and happy, even when the problems they’re coming together to solve are complex. 

MindSpin   #teampedia   #idea generation   #problem solving   #action   A fast and loud method to enhance brainstorming within a team. Since this activity has more than round ideas that are repetitive can be ruled out leaving more creative and innovative answers to the challenge.

22. Improved Solutions

After a team has successfully identified a problem and come up with a few solutions, it can be tempting to call the work of the problem-solving process complete. That said, the first solution is not necessarily the best, and by including a further review and reflection activity into your problem-solving model, you can ensure your group reaches the best possible result. 

One of a number of problem-solving games from Thiagi Group, Improved Solutions helps you go the extra mile and develop suggested solutions with close consideration and peer review. By supporting the discussion of several problems at once and by shifting team roles throughout, this problem-solving technique is a dynamic way of finding the best solution. 

Improved Solutions   #creativity   #thiagi   #problem solving   #action   #team   You can improve any solution by objectively reviewing its strengths and weaknesses and making suitable adjustments. In this creativity framegame, you improve the solutions to several problems. To maintain objective detachment, you deal with a different problem during each of six rounds and assume different roles (problem owner, consultant, basher, booster, enhancer, and evaluator) during each round. At the conclusion of the activity, each player ends up with two solutions to her problem.

23. Four Step Sketch

Creative thinking and visual ideation does not need to be confined to the opening stages of your problem-solving strategies. Exercises that include sketching and prototyping on paper can be effective at the solution finding and development stage of the process, and can be great for keeping a team engaged. 

By going from simple notes to a crazy 8s round that involves rapidly sketching 8 variations on their ideas before then producing a final solution sketch, the group is able to iterate quickly and visually. Problem-solving techniques like Four-Step Sketch are great if you have a group of different thinkers and want to change things up from a more textual or discussion-based approach.

Four-Step Sketch   #design sprint   #innovation   #idea generation   #remote-friendly   The four-step sketch is an exercise that helps people to create well-formed concepts through a structured process that includes: Review key information Start design work on paper,  Consider multiple variations , Create a detailed solution . This exercise is preceded by a set of other activities allowing the group to clarify the challenge they want to solve. See how the Four Step Sketch exercise fits into a Design Sprint

24. 15% Solutions

Some problems are simpler than others and with the right problem-solving activities, you can empower people to take immediate actions that can help create organizational change. 

Part of the liberating structures toolkit, 15% solutions is a problem-solving technique that focuses on finding and implementing solutions quickly. A process of iterating and making small changes quickly can help generate momentum and an appetite for solving complex problems.

Problem-solving strategies can live and die on whether people are onboard. Getting some quick wins is a great way of getting people behind the process.   

It can be extremely empowering for a team to realize that problem-solving techniques can be deployed quickly and easily and delineate between things they can positively impact and those things they cannot change. 

15% Solutions   #action   #liberating structures   #remote-friendly   You can reveal the actions, however small, that everyone can do immediately. At a minimum, these will create momentum, and that may make a BIG difference.  15% Solutions show that there is no reason to wait around, feel powerless, or fearful. They help people pick it up a level. They get individuals and the group to focus on what is within their discretion instead of what they cannot change.  With a very simple question, you can flip the conversation to what can be done and find solutions to big problems that are often distributed widely in places not known in advance. Shifting a few grains of sand may trigger a landslide and change the whole landscape.

25. How-Now-Wow Matrix

The problem-solving process is often creative, as complex problems usually require a change of thinking and creative response in order to find the best solutions. While it’s common for the first stages to encourage creative thinking, groups can often gravitate to familiar solutions when it comes to the end of the process. 

When selecting solutions, you don’t want to lose your creative energy! The How-Now-Wow Matrix from Gamestorming is a great problem-solving activity that enables a group to stay creative and think out of the box when it comes to selecting the right solution for a given problem.

Problem-solving techniques that encourage creative thinking and the ideation and selection of new solutions can be the most effective in organisational change. Give the How-Now-Wow Matrix a go, and not just for how pleasant it is to say out loud. 

How-Now-Wow Matrix   #gamestorming   #idea generation   #remote-friendly   When people want to develop new ideas, they most often think out of the box in the brainstorming or divergent phase. However, when it comes to convergence, people often end up picking ideas that are most familiar to them. This is called a ‘creative paradox’ or a ‘creadox’. The How-Now-Wow matrix is an idea selection tool that breaks the creadox by forcing people to weigh each idea on 2 parameters.

26. Impact and Effort Matrix

All problem-solving techniques hope to not only find solutions to a given problem or challenge but to find the best solution. When it comes to finding a solution, groups are invited to put on their decision-making hats and really think about how a proposed idea would work in practice. 

The Impact and Effort Matrix is one of the problem-solving techniques that fall into this camp, empowering participants to first generate ideas and then categorize them into a 2×2 matrix based on impact and effort.

Activities that invite critical thinking while remaining simple are invaluable. Use the Impact and Effort Matrix to move from ideation and towards evaluating potential solutions before then committing to them. 

Impact and Effort Matrix   #gamestorming   #decision making   #action   #remote-friendly   In this decision-making exercise, possible actions are mapped based on two factors: effort required to implement and potential impact. Categorizing ideas along these lines is a useful technique in decision making, as it obliges contributors to balance and evaluate suggested actions before committing to them.

27. Dotmocracy

If you’ve followed each of the problem-solving steps with your group successfully, you should move towards the end of your process with heaps of possible solutions developed with a specific problem in mind. But how do you help a group go from ideation to putting a solution into action? 

Dotmocracy – or Dot Voting -is a tried and tested method of helping a team in the problem-solving process make decisions and put actions in place with a degree of oversight and consensus. 

One of the problem-solving techniques that should be in every facilitator’s toolbox, Dot Voting is fast and effective and can help identify the most popular and best solutions and help bring a group to a decision effectively. 

Dotmocracy   #action   #decision making   #group prioritization   #hyperisland   #remote-friendly   Dotmocracy is a simple method for group prioritization or decision-making. It is not an activity on its own, but a method to use in processes where prioritization or decision-making is the aim. The method supports a group to quickly see which options are most popular or relevant. The options or ideas are written on post-its and stuck up on a wall for the whole group to see. Each person votes for the options they think are the strongest, and that information is used to inform a decision.

All facilitators know that warm-ups and icebreakers are useful for any workshop or group process. Problem-solving workshops are no different.

Use these problem-solving techniques to warm up a group and prepare them for the rest of the process. Activating your group by tapping into some of the top problem-solving skills can be one of the best ways to see great outcomes from your session.

  • Check-in/Check-out
  • Doodling Together
  • Show and Tell
  • Constellations
  • Draw a Tree

28. Check-in / Check-out

Solid processes are planned from beginning to end, and the best facilitators know that setting the tone and establishing a safe, open environment can be integral to a successful problem-solving process.

Check-in / Check-out is a great way to begin and/or bookend a problem-solving workshop. Checking in to a session emphasizes that everyone will be seen, heard, and expected to contribute. 

If you are running a series of meetings, setting a consistent pattern of checking in and checking out can really help your team get into a groove. We recommend this opening-closing activity for small to medium-sized groups though it can work with large groups if they’re disciplined!

Check-in / Check-out   #team   #opening   #closing   #hyperisland   #remote-friendly   Either checking-in or checking-out is a simple way for a team to open or close a process, symbolically and in a collaborative way. Checking-in/out invites each member in a group to be present, seen and heard, and to express a reflection or a feeling. Checking-in emphasizes presence, focus and group commitment; checking-out emphasizes reflection and symbolic closure.

29. Doodling Together  

Thinking creatively and not being afraid to make suggestions are important problem-solving skills for any group or team, and warming up by encouraging these behaviors is a great way to start. 

Doodling Together is one of our favorite creative ice breaker games – it’s quick, effective, and fun and can make all following problem-solving steps easier by encouraging a group to collaborate visually. By passing cards and adding additional items as they go, the workshop group gets into a groove of co-creation and idea development that is crucial to finding solutions to problems. 

Doodling Together   #collaboration   #creativity   #teamwork   #fun   #team   #visual methods   #energiser   #icebreaker   #remote-friendly   Create wild, weird and often funny postcards together & establish a group’s creative confidence.

30. Show and Tell

You might remember some version of Show and Tell from being a kid in school and it’s a great problem-solving activity to kick off a session.

Asking participants to prepare a little something before a workshop by bringing an object for show and tell can help them warm up before the session has even begun! Games that include a physical object can also help encourage early engagement before moving onto more big-picture thinking.

By asking your participants to tell stories about why they chose to bring a particular item to the group, you can help teams see things from new perspectives and see both differences and similarities in the way they approach a topic. Great groundwork for approaching a problem-solving process as a team! 

Show and Tell   #gamestorming   #action   #opening   #meeting facilitation   Show and Tell taps into the power of metaphors to reveal players’ underlying assumptions and associations around a topic The aim of the game is to get a deeper understanding of stakeholders’ perspectives on anything—a new project, an organizational restructuring, a shift in the company’s vision or team dynamic.

31. Constellations

Who doesn’t love stars? Constellations is a great warm-up activity for any workshop as it gets people up off their feet, energized, and ready to engage in new ways with established topics. It’s also great for showing existing beliefs, biases, and patterns that can come into play as part of your session.

Using warm-up games that help build trust and connection while also allowing for non-verbal responses can be great for easing people into the problem-solving process and encouraging engagement from everyone in the group. Constellations is great in large spaces that allow for movement and is definitely a practical exercise to allow the group to see patterns that are otherwise invisible. 

Constellations   #trust   #connection   #opening   #coaching   #patterns   #system   Individuals express their response to a statement or idea by standing closer or further from a central object. Used with teams to reveal system, hidden patterns, perspectives.

32. Draw a Tree

Problem-solving games that help raise group awareness through a central, unifying metaphor can be effective ways to warm-up a group in any problem-solving model.

Draw a Tree is a simple warm-up activity you can use in any group and which can provide a quick jolt of energy. Start by asking your participants to draw a tree in just 45 seconds – they can choose whether it will be abstract or realistic. 

Once the timer is up, ask the group how many people included the roots of the tree and use this as a means to discuss how we can ignore important parts of any system simply because they are not visible.

All problem-solving strategies are made more effective by thinking of problems critically and by exposing things that may not normally come to light. Warm-up games like Draw a Tree are great in that they quickly demonstrate some key problem-solving skills in an accessible and effective way.

Draw a Tree   #thiagi   #opening   #perspectives   #remote-friendly   With this game you can raise awarness about being more mindful, and aware of the environment we live in.

Each step of the problem-solving workshop benefits from an intelligent deployment of activities, games, and techniques. Bringing your session to an effective close helps ensure that solutions are followed through on and that you also celebrate what has been achieved.

Here are some problem-solving activities you can use to effectively close a workshop or meeting and ensure the great work you’ve done can continue afterward.

  • One Breath Feedback
  • Who What When Matrix
  • Response Cards

How do I conclude a problem-solving process?

All good things must come to an end. With the bulk of the work done, it can be tempting to conclude your workshop swiftly and without a moment to debrief and align. This can be problematic in that it doesn’t allow your team to fully process the results or reflect on the process.

At the end of an effective session, your team will have gone through a process that, while productive, can be exhausting. It’s important to give your group a moment to take a breath, ensure that they are clear on future actions, and provide short feedback before leaving the space. 

The primary purpose of any problem-solving method is to generate solutions and then implement them. Be sure to take the opportunity to ensure everyone is aligned and ready to effectively implement the solutions you produced in the workshop.

Remember that every process can be improved and by giving a short moment to collect feedback in the session, you can further refine your problem-solving methods and see further success in the future too.

33. One Breath Feedback

Maintaining attention and focus during the closing stages of a problem-solving workshop can be tricky and so being concise when giving feedback can be important. It’s easy to incur “death by feedback” should some team members go on for too long sharing their perspectives in a quick feedback round. 

One Breath Feedback is a great closing activity for workshops. You give everyone an opportunity to provide feedback on what they’ve done but only in the space of a single breath. This keeps feedback short and to the point and means that everyone is encouraged to provide the most important piece of feedback to them. 

One breath feedback   #closing   #feedback   #action   This is a feedback round in just one breath that excels in maintaining attention: each participants is able to speak during just one breath … for most people that’s around 20 to 25 seconds … unless of course you’ve been a deep sea diver in which case you’ll be able to do it for longer.

34. Who What When Matrix 

Matrices feature as part of many effective problem-solving strategies and with good reason. They are easily recognizable, simple to use, and generate results.

The Who What When Matrix is a great tool to use when closing your problem-solving session by attributing a who, what and when to the actions and solutions you have decided upon. The resulting matrix is a simple, easy-to-follow way of ensuring your team can move forward. 

Great solutions can’t be enacted without action and ownership. Your problem-solving process should include a stage for allocating tasks to individuals or teams and creating a realistic timeframe for those solutions to be implemented or checked out. Use this method to keep the solution implementation process clear and simple for all involved. 

Who/What/When Matrix   #gamestorming   #action   #project planning   With Who/What/When matrix, you can connect people with clear actions they have defined and have committed to.

35. Response cards

Group discussion can comprise the bulk of most problem-solving activities and by the end of the process, you might find that your team is talked out! 

Providing a means for your team to give feedback with short written notes can ensure everyone is head and can contribute without the need to stand up and talk. Depending on the needs of the group, giving an alternative can help ensure everyone can contribute to your problem-solving model in the way that makes the most sense for them.

Response Cards is a great way to close a workshop if you are looking for a gentle warm-down and want to get some swift discussion around some of the feedback that is raised. 

Response Cards   #debriefing   #closing   #structured sharing   #questions and answers   #thiagi   #action   It can be hard to involve everyone during a closing of a session. Some might stay in the background or get unheard because of louder participants. However, with the use of Response Cards, everyone will be involved in providing feedback or clarify questions at the end of a session.

Save time and effort discovering the right solutions

A structured problem solving process is a surefire way of solving tough problems, discovering creative solutions and driving organizational change. But how can you design for successful outcomes?

With SessionLab, it’s easy to design engaging workshops that deliver results. Drag, drop and reorder blocks  to build your agenda. When you make changes or update your agenda, your session  timing   adjusts automatically , saving you time on manual adjustments.

Collaborating with stakeholders or clients? Share your agenda with a single click and collaborate in real-time. No more sending documents back and forth over email.

Explore  how to use SessionLab  to design effective problem solving workshops or  watch this five minute video  to see the planner in action!

problem solving in work examples

Over to you

The problem-solving process can often be as complicated and multifaceted as the problems they are set-up to solve. With the right problem-solving techniques and a mix of creative exercises designed to guide discussion and generate purposeful ideas, we hope we’ve given you the tools to find the best solutions as simply and easily as possible.

Is there a problem-solving technique that you are missing here? Do you have a favorite activity or method you use when facilitating? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you! 

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thank you very much for these excellent techniques

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Certainly wonderful article, very detailed. Shared!

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Problem solving skills and how to improve them (with examples)

What’s life without its challenges? All of us will at some point encounter professional and personal hurdles. That might mean resolving a conflict with coworkers or making a big life decision. With effective problem solving skills, you’ll find tricky situations easier to navigate, and welcome challenges as opportunities to learn, grow and thrive. 

In this guide, we dive into the importance of problem solving skills and look at examples that show how relevant they are to different areas of your life. We cover how to find creative solutions and implement them, as well as ways to refine your skills in communication and critical thinking. Ready to start solving problems? Read on.

What is problem solving? 

Before we cover strategies for improving problem solving skills, it's important to first have a clear understanding of the problem solving process. Here are the steps in solving a problem:

  • Recognise the issue you are facing 
  • Take a look at all the information to gain insights
  • Come up with solutions
  • Look at the pros and cons of each solution and how it might play out
  • Plan, organise and implement your solution
  • Continuously assess the effectiveness of the solution and make adjustments as needed

Problem solving skills

There’s more to problem solving than coming up with a quick fix. Effective problem solving requires wide range of skills and abilities, such as:

  • Critical thinking: the ability to think logically, analyse information and look at situations from different perspectives.
  • Creativity: being able to come up with innovative, out-of-the-box solutions.
  • Decision-making: making informed choices by considering all the available information.
  • Communication: being able to express ideas clearly and effectively.
  • Analytical skills: breaking down complex problems into smaller parts and examining each one.
  • Time management: allocating time and resources effectively to address problems.
  • Adaptability: being open to change and willing to adjust strategies.
  • Conflict resolution: skillfully managing conflicts and finding solutions that work for all.

Examples of problem solving skills

Problem solving skills in the workplace are invaluable, whether you need them for managing a team, dealing with clients or juggling deadlines. To get a better understanding of how you might use these skills in real-life scenarios, here are some problem solving examples that are common in the workplace.

  • Analytical thinking

Analytical thinking is something that comes naturally to some, while others have to work a little harder. It involves being able to look at problem solving from a logical perspective, breaking down the issues into manageable parts. 

Example scenarios of analytical thinking

Quality control: in a manufacturing facility, analytical thinking helps identify the causes of product defects in order to pinpoint solutions.

Market research: marketing teams rely on analytical thinking to examine consumer data, identify market trends and make informed decisions on ad campaigns.

  • Critical thinking

Critical thinkers are able to approach problems objectively, looking at different viewpoints without rushing to a decision. Critical thinking is an important aspect of problem solving, helping to uncover biases and assumptions and weigh up the quality of the information before making any decisions. 

Example scenarios of critical thinking

  • Strategic planning: in the boardroom, critical thinking is important for assessing economic trends, competitor threats and more. It guides leaders in making informed decisions about long-term company goals and growth strategies.
  • Conflict resolution: HR professionals often use critical thinking when dealing with workplace conflicts. They objectively analyse the issues at hand and find an appropriate solution.

Decision-making

Making decisions is often the hardest part of problem solving. How do you know which solution is the right one? It involves evaluating information, considering potential outcomes and choosing the most suitable option. Effective problem solving relies on making well-informed decisions.

Example scenarios of decision-making

  • Budget allocation: financial managers must decide how to allocate resources to various projects or departments. 
  • Negotiation: salespeople and procurement professionals negotiate terms, pricing and agreements with clients, suppliers and partners.

Research skills

Research skills are pivotal when it comes to problem solving, to ensure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision. These skills involve searching for relevant data, critically evaluating information sources, and drawing meaningful conclusions. 

Example scenarios of research skills

  • Product development: a tech startup uses research skills to conduct market research to identify gaps and opportunities in the market. 
  • Employee engagement: an HR manager uses research skills to conduct employee surveys and focus groups.

A little creative flair goes a long way. By thinking outside the box, you can approach problems from different angles. Creative thinking involves combining existing knowledge, experiences and perspectives in new and innovative ways to come up with inventive solutions. 

Example scenarios of creativity

  • Cost reduction: creative problem solvers within a manufacturing company might look at new ways to reduce production costs by using waste materials.
  • Customer experience: a retail chain might look at implementing interactive displays and engaging store layouts to increase customer satisfaction and sales.

Collaboration

It’s not always easy to work with other people, but collaboration is a key element in problem solving, allowing you to make use of different perspectives and areas of expertise to find solutions.

Example scenarios

  • Healthcare diagnosis: in a hospital setting, medical professionals collaborate to diagnose complex medical cases.
  • Project management: project managers coordinate efforts, allocate resources and address issues that may arise during a project's lifecycle.

Conflict Resolution

Being able to mediate conflicts is a great skill to have. It involves facilitating open communication, understanding different perspectives and finding solutions that work for everyone. Conflict resolution is essential for managing any differences in opinion that arise.

Example scenarios of conflict resolution

  • Client dispute: a customer might be dissatisfied with a product or service and demand a refund. The customer service representative addresses the issue through active listening  and negotiation to reach a solution.
  • Project delay: a project manager might face resistance from team members about a change in project scope and will need to find a middle ground before the project can continue.

Risk management

Risk management is essential across many workplaces. It involves analysing potential threats and opportunities, evaluating their impact and implementing strategies to minimise negative consequences. Risk management is closely tied to problem solving, as it addresses potential obstacles and challenges that may arise during the problem solving process.

Example scenarios of risk management

  • Project risk management: in a construction project, risk management involves identifying potential delays, cost overruns and safety hazards. Risk mitigation strategies are developed, such as scheduling buffers and establishing safety protocols. 
  • Financial risk management: in financial institutions, risk management assesses and manages risks associated with investments and lending.

Communication

Effective communication is a skill that will get you far in all areas of life. When it comes to problem solving, communication plays an important role in facilitating collaboration, sharing insights and ensuring that all stakeholders have the same expectations. 

Example scenarios of communication

  • Customer service improvement: in a retail environment, open communication channels result in higher customer satisfaction scores.
  • Safety enhancement: in a manufacturing facility, a robust communication strategy that includes safety briefings, incident reporting and employee training helps minimise accidents and injuries.

How to improve problem solving skills 

Ready to improve your problem solving skills? In this section we explore strategies and techniques that will give you a head start in developing better problem solving skills. 

Adopt the problem solving mindset

Developing a problem solving mindset will help you tackle challenges effectively . Start by accepting problems as opportunities for growth and learning, rather than as obstacles or setbacks. This will allow you to approach every challenge with a can-do attitude.

Patience is also essential, because it will allow you to work through the problem and its various solutions mindfully. Persistence is also important, so you can keep adapting your approach until you find the right solution.

Finally, don’t forget to ask questions. What do you need to know? What assumptions are you making? What can you learn from previous attempts? Approach problem solving as an opportunity to  acquire new skills . Stay curious, seek out solutions, explore new possibilities and remain open to different problem solving approaches.

Understand the problem

There’s no point trying to solve a problem you don’t understand. To analyse a problem effectively, you need to be able to define it. This allows you to break it down into smaller parts, making it easier to find causes and potential solutions. Start with a well-defined problem statement that is precise and specific. This will help you focus your efforts on the core issue, so you don’t waste time and resources on the wrong concerns.

Strategies for problem analysis

  • Start with the problem statement and ask ‘Why?’ multiple times to dig deeper.
  • Gather relevant data and information related to the problem. 
  • Include those affected by the problem in the analysis process.
  • Compare the current problem with similar situations or cases to gain valuable insights.
  • Use simulations to explore potential outcomes of different solutions.
  • Continuously gather feedback during the problem solving process. 

Develop critical thinking and creativity skills

Critical thinking and creativity are both important when it comes to looking at the problem objectively and thinking outside the box. Critical thinking encourages you to question assumptions, recognise biases and seek evidence to support your conclusions. Creative thinking allows you to look at the problem from different angles to reveal new insights and opportunities.

Enhance research and decision-making skills

Research and decision-making skills are pivotal in problem solving as they enable you to gather relevant information, analyse options and choose the best course of action. Research provides the information and data needed, and ensures that you have a comprehensive understanding of the problem and its context. Effective decision-making is about selecting the solution that best addresses the problem.

Strategies to improve research and decision-making skills

  • Clearly define what you want to achieve through research.
  • Use a variety of sources, including books, articles, research papers, interviews, surveys and online databases.
  • Evaluate the credibility and reliability of your information sources.
  • Incorporate risk assessment into your decision-making process. 
  • Seek input from experts, colleagues and mentors when making important decisions. 
  • After making decisions, reflect on the outcomes and lessons learned. Use this to improve your decision-making skills over time.

Strengthen collaboration skills

Being able to work with others is one of the most important skills to have at work. Collaboration skills enable everyone to work effectively as a team, share their perspectives and collectively find solutions. 

Tips for improving teamwork and collaboration

  • Define people’s roles and responsibilities within the team. 
  • Encourage an environment of open communication where team members feel comfortable sharing ideas.
  • Practise active listening by giving full attention to others when they speak. 
  • Hold regular check-in sessions to monitor progress, discuss challenges and make adjustments as needed.
  • Use collaboration tools and platforms to facilitate communication and document progress. 
  • Acknowledge and celebrate team achievements and milestones. 

Learn from past experiences

Once you’ve overcome a challenge, take the time to look back with a critical eye. How effective was the outcome? Could you have tweaked anything in your process? Learning from past experiences is important when it comes to problem solving. It involves reflecting on both successes and failures to gain insights, refine strategies and make more informed decisions in the future. 

Strategies for learning from past mistakes

  • After completing a problem solving effort, gather your team for a debriefing session. Discuss what went well and what could have been better.
  • Conduct a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) of resolved problems. 
  • Evaluate the outcomes of past solutions. Did they achieve the desired results? 
  • Commit to continuous learning and improvement. 

Leverage problem solving tools and resources

Problem-solving tools and resources are a great help when it comes to navigating complex challenges. These tools offer structured approaches, methodologies and resources that can streamline the process. 

Tools and resources for problem solving

  • Mind mapping: mind maps visually organise ideas, concepts and their relationships. 
  • SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis: helps in strategic planning and decision-making.
  • Fishbone diagram (Ishikawa Diagram): this tool visually represents the potential root causes of a problem, helping you identify underlying factors contributing to an issue.
  • Decision matrices:  these assist in evaluating options by assigning weights and scores to criteria and alternatives.
  • Process flowcharts: these allow you to see the steps of a process in sequence, helping identify where the problem is occuring.
  • Decision support software: software applications and tools, such as data analytics platforms, can help in data-driven decision-making and problem solving.
  • Online courses and training: allow you to acquire new skills and knowledge.

Regular practice

Practice makes perfect! Using your skills in real life allows you to refine them, adapt to new challenges and build confidence in your problem solving capabilities. Make sure to try out these skills whenever you can.

Practical problem solving exercises 

  • Do puzzles, riddles and brainteasers regularly. 
  • Identify real-life challenges or dilemmas you encounter and practice applying problem solving techniques to these situations.
  • Analyse case studies or scenarios relevant to your field or industry. 
  • Regularly review past problem solving experiences and consider what you learned from them. 
  • Attend workshops, webinars or training sessions focused on problem solving. 

How to highlight problem solving skills on a resumé

Effectively showcasing your problem solving skills on your resumé  is a great way to demonstrate your ability to address challenges and add value to a workplace. We'll explore how to demonstrate problem solving skills on your resumé, so you stand out from the crowd.

Incorporating problem solving skills in the resumé summary

A resumé summary is your introduction to potential employers and provides an opportunity to succinctly showcase your skills. The resumé summary is often the first section employers read. It offers a snapshot of your qualifications and sets the tone for the rest of your resumé.

Your resumé summary should be customised for different job applications, ensuring that you highlight the specific problem solving skills relevant to the position you’re applying for.

Example 1: Project manager with a proven track record of solving complex operational challenges. Skilled in identifying root causes, developing innovative solutions and leading teams to successful project completion.

Example 2: Detail-oriented data analyst with strong problem solving skills. Proficient in data-driven decision-making, quantitative analysis and using statistical tools to solve business problems.

Highlighting problem solving skills in the experience section

The experience section of your resumé presents the perfect opportunity to demonstrate your problem solving skills in action. 

  • Start with action verbs: begin each bullet point in your job descriptions with strong action verbs such as, analysed, implemented, resolved and optimised.
  • Quantify achievements: use numbers and percentages to illustrate the impact of your solutions. For example: Increased efficiency by 25% by implementing a new workflow process.
  • Emphasise challenges: describe the specific challenges or problems you faced in your roles. 
  • Solution-oriented language: mention the steps you took to find solutions and the outcomes achieved.

Including problem solving skills in the skills section

The skills section of your resumé should showcase your top abilities, including problem solving skills. Here are some tips for including these skills.

  • Use a subsection: within your skills section, you could create a subsection specifically dedicated to problem solving skills – especially if the role calls for these skills.
  • Be specific: when listing problem solving skills, be specific about the types of role-related problems you can address. 
  • Prioritise relevant skills: tailor the list of problem solving skills to match the requirements of the job you're applying for. 

Examples of problem solving skills to include:

  • Creative problem solving
  • Decision making
  • Root cause analysis
  • Strategic problem solving
  • Data-driven problem solving
  • Interpersonal conflict resolution
  • Adaptability
  • Communication skills
  • Problem solving tools
  • Negotiation skills

Demonstrating problem solving skills in project sections or case studies

Including a dedicated section for projects or case studies in your resumé allows you to provide specific examples of your problem solving skills in action. It goes beyond simply listing skills, to demonstrate how you are able to apply those skills to real-world challenges.

Example – Data Analysis

Case Study: Market Expansion Strategy

  • Challenge: the company was looking to expand into new markets but lacked data on consumer preferences and market dynamics.
  • Solution: conducted comprehensive market research, including surveys and competitor analysis. Applied this research to identify target customer segments and developed a data-driven market-entry strategy.
  • Result: successfully launched in two new markets, reaching our target of 30% market share within the first year.

Using problem solving skills in cover letters

A well-crafted cover letter is your first impression on any potential employer. Integrating problem solving skills can support your job application by showcasing your ability to address challenges and contribute effectively to their team. Here’s a quick run-down on what to include:

  • Begin your cover letter by briefly mentioning the position you're applying for and your enthusiasm for it.
  • Identify a specific challenge or issue that the company may be facing, to demonstrate your research and understanding of their needs.
  • Include a brief story or scenario from your past experiences where you successfully applied problem solving skills to address a similar challenge. 
  • Highlight the positive outcomes or results achieved through your problem solving efforts. 
  • Explain how your skills make you the ideal person to address their specific challenges.

Problem solving skills are essential in all areas of life, enabling you to overcome challenges, make informed decisions, settle conflicts and drive innovation. We've explored the significance of problem solving skills and how to improve, demonstrate and leverage them effectively. It’s an ever-evolving skill set that can be refined over time. 

By actively incorporating problem solving skills into your day-to-day, you can become a more effective problem solver at work and in your personal life as well.

What are some common problem solving techniques?

Common problem solving techniques include brainstorming, root cause analysis, SWOT analysis, decision matrices, the scientific method and the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycle. These techniques offer structured approaches to identify, analyse and address problems effectively.

How can I improve my critical thinking skills?

Improving critical thinking involves practising skills such as analysis, evaluation and problem solving. It helps to engage in activities like reading, solving puzzles, debating and self-reflection.

What are some common obstacles to problem solving?

Common obstacles to problem solving include biases, lack of information or resources, and resistance to change. Recognising and addressing these obstacles is essential for effective problem solving.

How can I overcome resistance to change when implementing a solution?

To overcome resistance to change, it's essential to communicate the benefits of the proposed solution clearly, involve stakeholders in the decision-making process, address concerns and monitor the implementation's progress to demonstrate its effectiveness.

How can problem solving skills benefit my career?

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What are problem-solving skills? (Examples included!)

Life in the 21st century is all about efficiency and development. The unending quench of discovering the unknown, materializing one dream after another, has helped push the limits through the sky. But have you ever thought what the key to all of these astronomical successes is?

It is the zeal to solve a problem with the resources available to generate the best possible results.

Here's what this article will cover:

What are problem-solving skills , how do problem-solving skills help or act as your pillars of success, how do employers assess your problem-solving skills , steps to execute problem-solving skills, skills to hone for an apt solution-finder, examples of problem-solving techniques.

Dos and Don'ts in interviews

How to improve your problem-solving skills ?

How to highlight problem-solving skills .

Problem-solving is hunting; it is a savage pleasure, and we are born to it." –Thomas Harris .

The truth is, problem-solving skills are acquirable for some people while others adapt to it like fish in the water. Working in IT, web development, coding, machine learning, and the likes demand the ability to make decisions at a moment's notice.

So, do you want to back off when the time comes or take it up as a challenge?

Brush up your problem-solving skills or better, enhance them, and make them your forte by reading this article. No technical interview preparation guide is complete without tips to improve such problem-solving skills.

Also read: Why do FAANG companies test for problem-solving skills in their interviews.

Larry and his team suddenly face a major crisis. Not a single developer in his team who is good with String is coming to the office, but there is an urgent client requirement. Larry asks his team if anybody is confident enough to pull it through, and surprisingly, he sees one solitary hand of Jim in the mix. But it is a 4-men job, at least. Realizing that there is no way out other than working with another team(s), he wastes no time. He sends out emails to other teams asking for at least two more developers, counting himself and Jim. 4 more fellow coders came to the rescue and delivered the project before the deadline!

Problem-solving skills enable you to observe the situation and determine the contributing factors of the issue. Identifying the root cause and the ability to take necessary steps with available resources are integral in finessing your problem-solving ability.

All technical interview preparation courses , therefore, cover this crucial aspect.

Employers seek problem-solving skills in their employees . And why not?

Who wouldn't want to have an efficient employee like Larry? The knack of not backing down from a challenge is the perfect catalyst for business expansion.

Problem-solving skills help you attain insight into the source of the problem and figuring out an ideal solution. However, several skills and their correct implementation are essential, which are listed below.

  • Patient listener : To identify a problem, you must first be all ears to gain information about the situation.
  • Eye for detail : Once you start listening minutely, you now need to identify the data's discrepancies and have an intuitive eye for detail.
  • Thorough research : Background research and data verification is bread and butter for efficient problem-solvers.
  • Innovative approach : It is not just about getting it done. It's about taking a challenging approach in a mission to maximize results.
  • Communication skills: Flawless communication skills are necessary to negate any misunderstanding and ensure conveying the message with clarity. You can indeed consider this as a great time saver!
  • Composure : Your ability to remain calm even in a demanding situation will always earn you dividends in the path to success. It is not a quality that you can imbibe easily, but rigorous practice can do the trick for you.
  • Decision-making ability : Having a knack for making the right decisions under pressure is a highly sought-after attribute by employers when hiring people. Taking quick decisions in dire straits is the reason why the company is paying you the big bucks.  
  • Team player : Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your team is instrumental in maintaining team spirit. Higher the team spirit, the better the performance!

Employers today prioritize hiring people with soft skills like problem-solving abilities to maximize business output even when the going gets tough. Your problem-solving ability is judged based on:

  • If you have accomplished any remarkable feat in a taxing situation. This gives an insight into the upper benchmark of your performance.
  • Presenting hypothetical problems for the interviewee to solve is another commonly used trick to ascertain your productivity metrics and creative problem-solving techniques in tough conditions.
  • Some organizations may even line up some challenging tests and exercises to have a firsthand look at the execution and effectiveness of your technical skills in the approach to problem-solving.

"We cannot solve a problem with the same level of thinking that created them." – Albert Einstein

  • Analyze contributing factors

James was getting an error code during the execution of specific UI updates. He started analyzing the code and rechecking the repository for any possible mistake. To his delight, his hunch turned out to be accurate. He immediately made the necessary changes, and the updates were successfully executed.

Analysis of contributing factors and its repercussions in the ebb and flow of the task is a preliminary attribute of an able problem-solver. To acquire perfection in analysis and problem-solving skills, you must ensure a thorough:

  • Gathering of data
  • Diligent study of the collected data
  • Scrutiny to filter relevant data
  • Historical analysis
  • Generate interventions

Working at a software development firm, Donald is perturbed by the lack of advancement in the deep learning project. Lack of idea and innovation is leading to nowhere. He decided that enough is enough. He asked for a group session to brainstorm in the hope of generating some leads. The session was a huge success, and Donald was finally able to catch a breather.

It is not an unknown fact that 'we' is always more productive than 'I' under any circumstance.

Utilizing the versatility of your available resources with the help of various sessions can work miracles. Such sessions can be for:

  • Creative thinking
  • Brainstorming
  • Planning a project
  • Forecasting future trends
  • Prediction of possible outcomes
  • Designing your project with originality, etc.
  • Evaluate solutions

This is more up the alley for managers and team leads. To become adept at evaluating solutions, one must gain prolonged experience in corporate decision-making. The evaluation process needs to consider potential costs, available resources, and possible hurdles of project completion.

Remember Donald?

Yes, he is a team lead, and therefore, he had the authority to initiate a brainstorming session with multiple teams to bring in new ideas.

The secret to evaluating solutions?

  • Corroboration
  • Identifying change in trends
  • Prioritization
  • Implement a plan

Choosing the right course of action is the preliminary step to solve the problems. The success of the execution is streamlined with the help of quality benchmarks to indicate its effectiveness.

"A problem is a chance for you to do the best!" – Duke Ellington .

Knowing the right people to do it for you is essential for successful implementation. It is also crucial that you are accustomed to your organization's operating procedures before you formulate the best possible strategy.

Skills you need are:

  • Project management
  • Implementation of project strategy
  • Collaboration
  • Time management
  • Developing appropriate quality benchmark
  • Assess the solution's effectiveness

An ideal way to detect whether a solution is effective or not is to check if the problem still exists after applying the solution. Benchmarks need to be set as per organizational standards to help them assess the situation and if any further changes are required in the interim.

  • Data analysis
  • Communication
  • Close follow-ups
  • Troubleshooting

"A problem well stated is a problem half solved." –John Dewey

  • Research: Problem-solving is not complete without extensive research. It is otherwise impossible to identify the problem without gathering enough data on the errors and their analysis. Consulting with your team gives you an edge to find the solution quicker.
  • Analysis: Analysis of the situation is a must. Analytical skills further assist you in identifying the discrepancies and the possible actions which can resolve the issue.
  • Decision-making: The ability to make decisions in hours of need defines your mettle. The onus is on you to be proactive and choose the right course of action.
  • Communication: Are you great at conversations? If so, communication skills can help you garner much-required assistance for the project. Communication of the issues and how you want the project done are critical for the problem-solving process's smooth flow.
  • Dependability: Having dependable members boosts the morale of the team. If you are a problem-solver, taking responsibility and taking it on the chin to solve the issues needs to be your forte.
  • Select an example or situation that you can handle without any issue.
  • Do not stray off topic and stay on track.
  • Do not use jargon in your interview. So, choose your example and words wisely.
  • Do not choose a redundant issue.

Sam has come to an interview for a team-lead profile. The recruiter asks a situation-based problem in regards to machine learning software. Though tricky, Sam knew the exact way around for the problem and answered it precisely to the point. The recruiter is delighted and hires Sam for the position.

  • Thirst for knowledge : An insatiable thirst for knowledge is the secret door to success in problem-solving skills. If Sam was unaware of the tweaks needed to solve the problem, do you think the manager would have been impressed? No, managers at companies like Google and Facebook are looking for people who can act independently with their available resources. The question is, are you the problem solver who can be a catch to any company?
  • An intuition for challenge : You need to be intuitive and have a sharp nose for challenges. The more you take up difficult situations and handle them with panache and ease, the more you can hone your problem-solving skills .
  • Practice and more practice: Practice makes a man perfect – truer words have never been said. Effective problem solving is achieved not by slacking off but by acquainting yourself with various situations and applying your skills to resolve them. Remember, experience can never be substituted, and you have to take the long route to success!
  • Keen and observant eyes : Do you have an eye for detail, and are you quick to point out discrepancies in data analysis? If yes, you are already one step towards becoming a valued problem solver in your company. Also, if you are a person who observes closely what is being done and why others do it, it helps develop your decision-making skills in future. Don't forget to mention this in your resume.

Tom has been applying frantically for a job since he moved to Arizona but seemed unable to find just the right one. When he sees his attempts are futile, he decides to add some of his previous company's achievements, thinking it might help. Oh, boy, did it help! Tom writes about when he was asked to handle a team of 12 single-handedly while his manager suddenly went on a sabbatical. Tom had no prior experience of leading a team but appeared to come out of this fix with flying colors.

Megan is currently looking for a step up in her career. She carefully drafts a cover letter that entails her achievements with clarity. The cover letter explained her contributions in reviving team spirit in the office after her predecessor, with his poor man-management, had successfully built a wall of distrust among the employees.  

  • Problem-solving skills for resume : You can convey your achievements or even your hobbies to the person sitting in front of you, or not, depending on his/her nature. But you cannot afford to miss the chance to showcase your best achievement. It is in your best interest to build your CV around the achievements to give it maximum traction and attention. Mention the problem you faced and jot down the course of action you took to nullify the situation. Nobody can stop you if this is done right!
  • Problem-solving skills for cover letter : Use it as an opportunity to let the company delve into your success story so far and the factors leading to it. If you have done your research on the organization you're applying for, it will not hurt your chances of identifying some challenges of the company and suggesting some solutions. It goes down a long way if you indeed join forces!

If you are adequately seasoned with problem-solving skills with dedication and practice, you're already almost there. Proper interview preparation tips can further help you in this regard.

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31 examples of problem solving performance review phrases

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You're doing great

You should think of improving

Tips to improve

Use these practical examples of phrases, sample comments, and templates for your performance review , 360-degree feedback survey, or manager appraisal.

The following examples not only relate to problem-solving but also conflict management , effective solutions, selecting the best alternatives, decision making , problem identification, analyzing effectively, and generally becoming an effective problem-solving strategist. Start using effective performance review questions to help better guide your workforce's development. 

Problem solving appraisal comments: you're doing great

  • You always maintain an effective dialogue with clients when they have technical problems. Being clear and articulate makes sure our customers' faults are attended to promptly.
  • You constantly make sure to look beyond the obvious you never stop at the first answer. You’re really good at exploring alternatives. Well done!
  • Keeping the supervisors and managers informed of status changes and requests is important. You’re really good at communicating the changes to the projects at all times. Keep it up!
  • You stay cool and collected even when things aren’t going according to plan or up in the air. This is a great trait to possess. Well done!
  • You’re excellent at giving an honest and logical analysis. Keep it up! Effectively diagnosing complex problems and reaching sustainable solutions is one of your strong points.
  • Your ability to ability to make complex systems into simple ones is truly a unique skill to possess. Well done!
  • You often identify practical solutions to every roadblock. You’re a real asset to the team! Great job.
  • You always listen actively and attentively to make sure you understand what the exact problem is and you come up with solutions in an effective manner.
  • You have an amazing ability to clearly explain options and solutions effectively and efficiently. Well done!
  • When driving projects, you can shift to other areas comfortably and easily. making sure the project runs smoothly. Great job!

problem-solving-performance-review-phrases-person-at-work-talking-to-boss

Problem solving performance review phrases: you should think of improving

  • You always seem too overwhelmed when faced with multiple problems. Try to think of ways to make problems more manageable so that they can be solved in a timely and effective manner.
  • Avoiding conflicts constantly with people is not a good idea as you will only build up personal frustration and nothing will be done to remedy the situation. Try to face people when there are problems and rectify problems when they occur.
  • Don’t allow demanding customers to rattle your cage too much. If they become too demanding, take a step back, regulate your emotions , and try to make use of online support tools to help you rectify problems these tools can help a lot!
  • It’s necessary that you learn from your past mistakes . You cannot keep making the same mistakes , as this is not beneficial to the company.
  • You tend to ask the same questions over and over again. Try to listen more attentively or take notes when colleagues are answering!
  • Providing multiple solutions in an indirect and creative approach will allow you to be more effective at problem-solving . if you struggle with this typically through viewing the problem in a new and unusual light.
  • You fail to provide staff with the appropriate amount of structure and direction. They must know the direction you wish them to go in to achieve their goals .
  • You need to be able to recognize repetitive trends to solve problems promptly.
  • You tend to have problems troubleshooting even the most basic of questions. As a problem solver and customer support person, it’s imperative that you can answer these questions easily.
  • Read through your training manual and make sure you fully understand it before attempting questions again.

problem-solving-performance-review-phrases-person-talking-at-work

Performance review tips to improve problem solving

  • Try to complain less about problems and come up with solutions to the problems more often. Complaining is not beneficial to progression and innovation.
  • As a problem solver, it’s important to be able to handle multiple priorities under short deadlines.
  • You need to be able to effectively distinguish between the cause and the symptoms of problems to solve them in an efficient and timely manner.
  • Try to anticipate problems in advance before they become major roadblocks down the road.
  • Try to view obstacles as opportunities to learn and thrive at the challenge of solving the problem.
  • Remember to prioritize problems according to their degree of urgency. It's important that you spend the majority of your time on urgent tasks over menial ones.
  • When putting plans into place, stick to them and make sure they are completed.
  • When solving problems, try to allocate appropriate levels of resources when undertaking new projects. It is important to become as efficient and as effective as possible.
  • Try to learn to pace yourself when solving problems to avoid burnout . You’re a great asset to the team and we cannot afford to lose at this point.
  • Meeting regularly with your staff to review results is vital to the problem-solving process.
  • Staff that has regular check-ins understand what it is that is required of them, what they are currently achieving, and areas they may need to improve. Try to hold one-on-one meetings every week.

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Madeline Miles

Madeline is a writer, communicator, and storyteller who is passionate about using words to help drive positive change. She holds a bachelor's in English Creative Writing and Communication Studies and lives in Denver, Colorado. In her spare time, she's usually somewhere outside (preferably in the mountains) — and enjoys poetry and fiction.

How a performance review template improves the feedback process

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Status.net

3 Steps: How to Take Initiative at Work (Examples)

By Status.net Editorial Team on March 6, 2024 — 10 minutes to read

Taking initiative at work can be a game-changer when it comes to career advancement and personal growth. Being proactive in your role means seeking out new opportunities, tackling challenges, and striving to consistently improve your skills.

Employers highly value team members who are self-starters and can handle responsibility independently. By demonstrating initiative, you’ll not only improve your job performance but also pave the way for new professional opportunities.

One way to take initiative is by identifying areas where you can create more efficiency in your daily tasks.

For instance, if you notice a repetitive process that could be streamlined, propose the implementation of a new software or tool to automate the task.

This will not only save time for you and your team but also showcase your problem-solving abilities.

Another example of taking initiative is volunteering to lead a project that is outside your usual realm of responsibilities.

By taking charge of a new challenge, you will show your adaptability and commitment to the growth of the company, and it could lead to new skill development and potential career advancements.

Examples of Initiative at Work

In this section, you’ll be exposed to various examples of taking initiative at work. By understanding these examples and implementing them in your professional life you can make a significant impact on your career.

Solving Unaddressed Problems

One way to show initiative at work is by identifying and solving unaddressed problems. This means that you proactively search for aspects of your job that need improvement and then take the necessary steps to fix them.

For instance, let’s say you notice that your team’s productivity is declining because everyone is attending too many non-essential meetings.

You can be the one to evaluate the meeting schedule, create a more efficient agenda, and communicate the changes to your team members.

By doing this, you’ll be able to demonstrate your problem-solving skills and commitment to meeting organizational goals.

Automating Repetitive Tasks

Taking the initiative to automate repetitive tasks can save you and your company time, effort, and resources.

Look for tasks that are monotonous and consume a considerable amount of time, such as data entry, report generation, or scheduling.

Learning to use automation tools and software can help streamline these tasks and make them more efficient.

For example, you could propose implementing a task management tool that automatically assigns tasks to team members based on their availability and skillset.

This will not only help your team work more efficiently but also show your proactive approach in finding ways to enhance productivity.

Leading by Example

Acting as a role model to your peers is another example of taking initiative at work.

This means that you consistently exhibit the behaviors and attitudes you want your colleagues to adopt.

For instance, if your company is encouraging a more inclusive workplace culture, you could make an effort to include everyone’s ideas and perspectives in team discussions.

By leading by example, you’ll demonstrate to your peers the benefits of embracing new approaches and inspire them to take initiative themselves.

Understanding Initiative

Definition and importance.

Taking initiative means that you act proactively and independently without the need for directions from others.

It’s important in the workplace because employers value team members who demonstrate the ability to think on their feet and make decisions in response to challenges or opportunities.

This also encourages creative problem-solving and can lead to more efficient workflows within the organization.

For example, if you notice a certain process at work is inefficient, taking the initiative to suggest improvements to your supervisor can help streamline operations and potentially save time and resources.

Self-Starters in the Workplace

There is a term: self-starter, which refers to someone who thrives in taking initiative. Self-starters are driven, motivated, and often able to complete tasks with minimal direction.

They adapt quickly to new situations and are always on the lookout for ways to help their colleagues and improve overall workplace performance.

Some ways to be a self-starter in the workplace:

  • Identify opportunities for improvement: Continuously evaluate the systems and processes at your workplace, and propose any optimizations you can think of.
  • Anticipate challenges: Instead of waiting for a problem to arise, try to predict potential issues and come up with solutions in advance.
  • Develop new skills: Proactively seek out opportunities to learn and grow your skillset, increasing your value to your company and expanding your professional development.
  • Collaborate with others: Be open to sharing your ideas and working as part of a team to achieve common goals, demonstrating your commitment to creating a positive work environment.
  • Strive for excellence: Show dedication to your work by always aiming to deliver the best results possible.

Developing a Proactive Mindset

Shifting your perspective.

To develop a proactive mindset, it’s important to shift your perspective.

Start by focusing on the things you can control and influence.

For example, if you notice that your team is consistently behind on deadlines, instead of complaining, suggest ways to improve the process or offer to help in areas where you excel.

This will help you feel empowered and in control of your work environment.

Another way to shift your perspective is to adopt a growth mindset. This means viewing challenges and setbacks as opportunities for growth and learning.

When faced with a difficult situation, remind yourself that you can learn, adapt, and improve.

Overcoming Fear of Failure

Fear of failure can hold you back from taking initiative at work. To overcome this fear, it’s important to accept that failure is a natural part of the learning process.

Instead of seeing failure as daunting, try to see it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

One way to do this is by breaking tasks into smaller, manageable steps. This will help you feel more in control and reduce your anxiety.

Another strategy is to share your ideas and concerns with a trusted colleague or mentor. They can provide valuable feedback and support, giving you the confidence to take initiative and try new things.

Don’t shy away from asking for help when you need it.

Setting Personal Goals

Setting personal goals is a key component of developing a proactive mindset.

  • Start by identifying your strengths and areas where you would like to grow.
  • Then, set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals to help you develop in those areas.
  • Use lists to keep track of your goals and break them down into smaller tasks.
  • Prioritize them based on importance and set deadlines for completion. This not only keeps you organized, but also provides a sense of accomplishment as you complete each task.

Remember to celebrate your achievements, big and small, along the way.

Taking Initiative at Work: Steps

1. identifying opportunities.

It’s important to be aware of opportunities to take initiative in the workplace.

Keep an eye out for projects or tasks that could benefit from your skills or expertise.

If you notice a process that could be improved or a coworker who needs help, don’t hesitate to step in and offer your assistance.

For example, if you see that the monthly reports take a substantial amount of time for your team to compile, you could suggest a more efficient method or tool to streamline the process.

2. Offering Help and Ideas

Once you’ve identified an opportunity, don’t be shy about offering your help or sharing your ideas.

Present your suggestions in a constructive and supportive manner, and make sure they align with the goals and needs of the team.

For instance, if you’ve discovered a new software that can automate some tasks, explain how it can save your teammates’ time and increase overall productivity.

  • Make yourself available to help others
  • Share your ideas in team meetings
  • Offer constructive feedback on current processes

3. Going Beyond Your Job Description

Taking initiative often means going beyond your job description to contribute to the success of your team and organization.

Be willing to take on additional responsibilities, and demonstrate your commitment to your team by actively participating in meetings and group discussions.

For example, if your company is organizing a charity event, volunteer to help with the planning or execution, even if it’s not part of your regular duties.

This will not only showcase your ability to think outside the box but also provide an opportunity to expand your network and skills.

Communication and Collaboration

Sharing your initiatives.

It’s important to share your ideas and initiatives with your team or colleagues.

Lack of communication might lead to misunderstandings and missed opportunities.

A good way to start is by actively participating in meetings, and not hesitating to propose new ideas.

For example, if you see an opportunity to improve a process or workflow, suggest it during your team meeting.

Providing context and reasoning behind your initiative is important. Instead of saying, “I think we should use this new tool,” explain why you think it can benefit the team and provide a clear example. You could say, “I believe that using this new tool can improve our project management because it allows for easy collaboration and tracking of tasks.”

Sharing your initiatives using these channels can keep everyone informed and aligned with your plans.

Encouraging Team Engagement

To take initiative at work, it’s not only about your actions but also fostering a supportive environment for your colleagues.

Encourage open communication by actively listening and providing feedback to your teammates. If someone shares an idea during a meeting, acknowledge it and ask follow-up questions to show genuine interest.

Another way to foster engagement is by involving your coworkers in your initiatives. For instance, if you’re establishing a new procedure for tracking work progress, you could ask your colleagues for their input, or better yet, assign specific roles or tasks to them in the implementation process.

One technique to enhance collaboration in a team is using brainstorming sessions. This activity allows everyone to contribute their thoughts and ideas, promoting a sense of unity and ownership of the final outcome.

The more engaged your team is, the smoother the implementation of your initiatives and the more successful your projects will be.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some key strategies for demonstrating initiative in the workplace.

To demonstrate initiative at work, you can begin by identifying areas where you can add value, such as suggesting improvements to processes or volunteering for additional responsibilities.

You should also take ownership of your tasks and seek to solve problems without relying on others for guidance.

Another strategy is to develop a growth mindset, which means embracing a willingness to learn and challenge yourself.

For example, you could expand your skillset by enrolling in a relevant online course or training program.

How can you recognize opportunities to take initiative at your job?

Recognizing opportunities to take initiative starts with observing your workspace and paying attention to the needs of your colleagues and the organization.

You can identify areas that require improvement or problems that have not been addressed yet.

Moreover, be proactive in engaging in conversations with your team members to get insights into potential opportunities.

Always be prepared to suggest creative solutions and take the lead in implementing those changes.

What are effective ways to encourage proactive behavior among team members?

Creating a culture of initiative within your team can be achieved by fostering open communication, where team members feel encouraged to share ideas and insights.

Recognizing and rewarding proactive behavior is another important factor in motivating your team.

You can set regular meetings to discuss progress, challenges, and opportunities, while promoting collaboration and team support.

Make sure your teammates know that their active participation and input are valued.

Why is it important to show initiative, and how can it impact career growth?

Showing initiative is important because it demonstrates that you are an engaged and motivated employee who is willing to go the extra mile for the team’s success.

In turn, this can lead to increased trust and responsibility from your supervisors or managers.

Taking initiative also helps you stand out from your colleagues, creating opportunities for career growth, such as promotions or increased job responsibilities.

Furthermore, being proactive prepares you for future challenges and builds the skills necessary to excel within your organization.

Can you provide examples of small acts of initiative that made a big impact?

Small acts of initiative can indeed make a big difference.

For example, a team member who noticed that the company lacked an effective system for tracking progress on project tasks may propose and implement a project management tool that improves productivity and collaboration.

Additionally, an employee might identify an outdated process and create a more efficient alternative, saving time and resources.

These seemingly small acts can have a significant positive impact on the workplace.

In what ways can taking initiative influence team dynamics and productivity?

Taking initiative can positively influence team dynamics. It can improve communication, foster collaboration, and promote a culture of continuous improvement.

When you take initiative, you inspire others to do the same. This results in a more engaged and motivated team. This proactive approach can lead to increased productivity. It does this by resolving issues promptly and empowering team members to work together towards common goals and objectives.

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Developing New Ways to Tackle Problems — New Free Audiobook for Members

By paul lief rosengren.

Developing New Ways to Tackle Problems – New Free Audiobook for Members

Audiobook: Critical Thinking Skills for Engineers – Book 5: On Problem Solving

DOWNLOAD MP3

Ramanathan starts by diving into Problem Statements — quoting Charles Kettering, head of research at General Motors from 1920 to 1947: “A problem well stated is a problem half solved.” The five steps he gives for developing a problem statement are:

Step 1: Context – Provide the backdrop that surrounds the issue.

Step 2: Current Situation – Describe when and where the problem is occurring; and why it is worth addressing.

Step 3: Impact – Clarify the magnitude of the problem: is it an irritant; a moderate challenge; or an intolerable situation that must be immediately addressed?

Step 4: Ideal State – Describe what success looks like and what metrics can be used to determine success.

Step 5: Potential Solutions – Frame suggestions on how your engineering team might find solutions to a problem.

Ramanathan then gives two examples (converting CO2 to useful products; and managing the increasing stockpiles of discarded batteries) and goes through the five steps with each. The examples he gives throughout the audiobook are compelling, relating directly to the strategies he explains.

Ramanathan then moves on to Root Cause Analysis — with examples from the Equifax data breach, and the NASA Challenger shuttle disaster. In both examples, he shows how investigators worked backward to uncover the source of the failure.

The other problem-solving techniques in the book with explanations, examples and tips are:

Abstraction – Citing examples of Waves, Tradedrink and Splunk, Ramanathan concludes, “Abstraction is a skill that engineers can develop by checking whether there’s a more generalized problem at hand; by creating a useful model to solve the problem; and by testing and tuning the model to deliver the best engineering solution.”

Analogy – Looking for similar problems that have been solved before. Ramanathan draws on the examples of the Traveling Salesman and Swarm Intelligence problems.

Brainstorming – The five steps Ramanathan suggests for a good brainstorm are: define the problem; go for quantity; suspend judgment (and have fun); combine ideas; and then, select the best idea.

Trial-and-Error – Ramanathan highlights Edison’s effort at trying more than 6,000 different materials when searching for the best filament for the light bulb. He suggests that Trial-and-Error is an effective approach to problem solving — when trials can be used to test ideas rapidly and cost effectively — modeling is difficult; the cost of a failure is low; and successful trial results are repeatable at scale.

Hypothesis Testing – With this technique, one suggests a solution based on limited information; then, tests and revises the hypothesis, as needed.

Divide and Conquer – For large complex engineering problems, Ramanathan suggests breaking it down into smaller problems that can be more easily solved.

Lateral Thinking – Sometimes called “thinking outside the box,” Ramanathan draws on Edith Clarke — and her challenge to the accepted belief that electricity could not be transmitted more than 50 miles. Clarke’s lateral thinking allowed her to develop tools and techniques critical to building out the transmission system — carrying electricity hundreds of miles from a generation source.

Reduction – Breaking a problem down into repeatable smaller ones. He gives the example of Carl Friedrich Gauss, who in elementary school was asked to add the integers 1 to 100. Gauss realized it was just 50 pairs that totaled 101 (1 plus 100, 2 plus 99 etc.) He then simply multiplied 50 x 101, surprising his teacher by quickly delivering the correct answer of 5050.

The audiobook Critical Thinking Skills for Engineers–Book 5: On Problem Solving , by Sridhar Ramanathan is available at the IEEE-USA Shop free for IEEE members. You can also find these other e-book and audiobooks by Ramanathan, published by IEEE-USA:

  • Critical Thinking for Engineers – Book 1: Analytical Skills
  • Critical Thinking for Engineers – Book 2: Communication Skills
  • Critical Thinking for Engineers – Book 3: On Creativity
  • Critical Thinking for Engineers – Book 4: On Open-Mindedness

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Sanders' 32-hour workweek plan the latest example of society's proclivity to 'vilify work': Mike Rowe

Rowe reiterated his mantra that 'work is not the enemy'.

MikeRoweWorks Foundation CEO Mike Rowe provides his take on Bernie Sanders' 32-hour workweek proposal and discusses the misconceptions and stigmas over work.

We have to push back against the notion that the more you work, the more miserable you are: Mike Rowe

MikeRoweWorks Foundation CEO Mike Rowe provides his take on Bernie Sanders' 32-hour workweek proposal and discusses the misconceptions and stigmas over work.

Sen. Bernie Sanders', I-Vt., proposal of a 32-hour workweek is the latest example of a societal trend toward the vilification of work, "How America Works" host and blue-collar labor proponent Mike Rowe told FOX Business on Friday.

Rowe, who founded the mikeroweWORKS Foundation in his hometown of Baltimore to support those in pursuit of skilled labor jobs, said society has wrongly turned to blaming work for all of its ills.

"Everything I've seen… [offers] example after example of what our country and what our society is doing to literally vilify work," he told " Cavuto Coast to Coast ."

"Work has become the proximate cause of all our pain, all our un-fulfillment, all of our misery, and you can see that by the fact that retirement is still the brass ring — the thing that everybody is somehow working toward."

ROWE: FOUR-YEAR DEGREES NO LONGER RESONATE WITH PRIDE

TV host Mike Rowe joins ‘The Big Money Show’ to discuss his ‘work ethic scholarship program’ and his ongoing efforts to provide alternative forms of education. 

Mike Rowe on his ‘work ethic scholarship program’: This aims to close America’s ‘skills gap’

TV host Mike Rowe joins ‘The Big Money Show’ to discuss his ‘work ethic scholarship program’ and his ongoing efforts to provide alternative forms of education. 

Rowe, however, added that Sanders, at 82, is himself a "great example" of someone who is "still up there and still working." Sanders has been working in public life since becoming mayor of Burlington, Vt., in 1981.

"We're not born with work ethic. My foundation offers work ethic scholarships precisely because if somebody doesn't make a case for it, we're all going to default to our default positions," Rowe said of the importance of respecting hard work. 

"If you want to make a case for work ethic — we just got a work-ethic curriculum into a big public school. It's taken three years. We've attached $5 million for the top people in that class to go to any trade school they want in the country, full ride. I'm not patting myself on the back for this, I'm just saying that we need better examples of people who will cheerfully take hold of a thing and lift."

Rowe said it is important to push back on the notion that the more one works, the more miserable one is, and that such a sentiment is antithetical to him in both a macro- and micro-sense.

MIKE ROWE DETAILS ‘UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES’ OF CA'S $20 MIN WAGE

MikeRoweWorks Foundation CEO Mike Rowe argues that four-year college degrees are no longer seen as a source of pride by graduates on 'Varney & Co.'

Mike Rowe: Higher education has a big PR problem

MikeRoweWorks Foundation CEO Mike Rowe argues that four-year college degrees are no longer seen as a source of pride by graduates on 'Varney & Co.'

"We're in control of the definition of a good job. There's a lot of stuff we can't control, but we didn't have to take shop class out of high school, but we did, and the unintended consequences… I can draw a straight line from that to $1.7 trillion in student loans, to 11 million open positions that don't require a four-year degree, to the very ethos that we're talking about right now," he added.

Rowe contrasted the current state of American skilled labor with that of other advanced nations like South Korea, Germany and Switzerland, which he said have a "guild" system wherein all career paths are availed to people without "put[ting a] thumb on the scale."

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Mike Rowe Works Foundation CEO Mike Rowe joins 'Cavuto: Coast to Coast' to discuss the costs of higher education, work ethic in the U.S. and the mission of his foundation.

US work ethic is 'truly on the ropes': Mike Rowe

Mike Rowe Works Foundation CEO Mike Rowe joins 'Cavuto: Coast to Coast' to discuss the costs of higher education, work ethic in the U.S. and the mission of his foundation.

"None of this is to say that a four-year degree is bad. It's just to say that it's expensive, and it sure as hell isn't the best path for most people. That's a lie. We should stop spreading it," he said.

Rowe said the mikeroweWORKS Foundation has trained nearly 2,000 people to be plumbers, welders, steam-fitters and the like, and that most are making six-figure salaries.

He called the success stories examples that disprove perceptions about people who choose not to seek a college education.

"They are living proof that the stigmas and stereotypes and the myths and the misperceptions that keep kids out of these fields need to be debunked." 

problem solving in work examples

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  2. 39 Best Problem-Solving Examples (2023)

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  3. 15 Importance of Problem Solving Skills in the Workplace

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  4. 25+ Good Examples of Problem Solving in the Workplace

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  1. problem Solving Skills

  2. Problem Solving Techniques

  3. Solving Work Problems: Part 2 (TagLish)

  4. Problem solving Work A takes 6 days, B takes 8 days how many pay for C who helps out

COMMENTS

  1. 26 Good Examples of Problem Solving (Interview Answers)

    Examples of Problem Solving Scenarios in the Workplace. Correcting a mistake at work, whether it was made by you or someone else. Overcoming a delay at work through problem solving and communication. Resolving an issue with a difficult or upset customer. Overcoming issues related to a limited budget, and still delivering good work through the ...

  2. Workplace Problem-Solving Examples: Real Scenarios, Practical Solutions

    The Art of Problem Solving in the Workplace. Now that we have a clear understanding of workplace problems, let's explore the essential skills necessary for effective problem-solving in the workplace. By developing these skills and adopting a proactive approach, individuals can tackle problems head-on and find practical solutions.

  3. 25+ Good Examples of Problem Solving in the Workplace

    Problem: Poor time management. It's a very common work problem with many solutions working for everyone individually. A good example would be using a time management system (e.g., Pomodoro), keeping track of all tasks in a project management tool like Jira, and adding all meetings and appointments to the calendar.

  4. 5 Examples of Problem-Solving in The Workplace

    5 Examples Of Problem-Solving Skills. 1. Improving Collaboration in a Stalled Project. Here is a sample you can use when explaining how you improved team collaboration on a project: "Our team was tasked with developing a new financial management web application. However, we hit a snag and missed two crucial milestones.

  5. 7 Examples of Problem-Solving Scenarios in the Workplace (With ...

    Problem-solving scenarios are often used in training or educational settings to help individuals develop problem-solving abilities. Here are some examples of problem-solving scenarios: - A manufacturing company is experiencing a high rate of defects in its products. The company needs to identify the root cause of the problem and implement a solution to improve quality control.

  6. How To Put Problem-Solving Skills To Work in 6 Steps

    Here are the basic steps involved in problem-solving: 1. Define the problem. The first step is to analyze the situation carefully to learn more about the problem. A single situation may solve multiple problems. Identify each problem and determine its cause. Try to anticipate the behavior and response of those affected by the problem.

  7. 7 Problem-Solving Skills That Can Help You Be a More ...

    Although problem-solving is a skill in its own right, a subset of seven skills can help make the process of problem-solving easier. These include analysis, communication, emotional intelligence, resilience, creativity, adaptability, and teamwork. 1. Analysis. As a manager, you'll solve each problem by assessing the situation first.

  8. Problem Solving Strategies for the Workplace [2024] • Asana

    4 steps to better problem solving. While it might be tempting to dive into a problem head first, take the time to move step by step. Here's how you can effectively break down the problem-solving process with your team: 1. Identify the problem that needs to be solved. One of the easiest ways to identify a problem is to ask questions.

  9. What Are Problem-Solving Skills? Definition and Examples

    Problem-Solving Skills Definition. Problem-solving skills are the ability to identify problems, brainstorm and analyze answers, and implement the best solutions. An employee with good problem-solving skills is both a self-starter and a collaborative teammate; they are proactive in understanding the root of a problem and work with others to ...

  10. Problem-Solving Skills Examples (With Steps to Develop Them)

    Here are some problem-solving skills examples you may utilise to solve a problem effectively in a workplace: ... interviewers may want to know how you approach problems that you may face in the workplace. Problem-solving skills are also key to being a good leader since leaders in the workplace often solve problems for their team or guide them ...

  11. 14 Effective Problem-Solving Strategies

    7. Work backward. Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to work backward to solve it. This can be helpful if you need to recreate specific events to locate the root cause of a problem. For example, a car manufacturer may want to produce a vehicle that is better than their competitor's newest model.

  12. How to Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills

    Problem-solving skills examples. Problem-solving requires multiple skills to get to a solution. These skills are all vital professional skills that employers desire in the immediate and future workplace.. 1. Decision-making. You'll need to develop your decision-making skills if you want to excel at problem-solving. No problem can be solved without making important decisions, including what ...

  13. 10 Best Examples Of Problem-Solving Skills For Interviews

    Tips for Sharing Examples of Problem-Solving in the Workplace. There are many ways to discuss your problem-solving skills in the workplace. However, some examples are more effective than others. Follow these tips to choose moments that are impactful enough to leave a lasting impression. 1. Pick Examples That are Relevant to the Position You Want

  14. What is Problem Solving? (Steps, Techniques, Examples)

    Definition and Importance. Problem solving is the process of finding solutions to obstacles or challenges you encounter in your life or work. It is a crucial skill that allows you to tackle complex situations, adapt to changes, and overcome difficulties with ease. Mastering this ability will contribute to both your personal and professional ...

  15. What Are Problem-Solving Skills? Definitions and Examples

    Definitions and Examples. Jennifer Herrity. Updated July 31, 2023. When employers talk about problem-solving skills, they are often referring to the ability to handle difficult or unexpected situations in the workplace as well as complex business challenges. Organizations rely on people who can assess both kinds of situations and calmly ...

  16. 35 problem-solving techniques and methods for solving complex problems

    All teams and organizations encounter challenges as they grow. There are problems that might occur for teams when it comes to miscommunication or resolving business-critical issues.You may face challenges around growth, design, user engagement, and even team culture and happiness.In short, problem-solving techniques should be part of every team's skillset.

  17. Problem solving skills and how to improve them (with examples)

    Problem solving skills in the workplace are invaluable, whether you need them for managing a team, dealing with clients or juggling deadlines. To get a better understanding of how you might use these skills in real-life scenarios, here are some problem solving examples that are common in the workplace. Analytical thinking

  18. What are problem-solving skills? (Examples included!)

    Problem-solving skills help you attain insight into the source of the problem and figuring out an ideal solution. However, several skills and their correct implementation are essential, which are listed below. Patient listener: To identify a problem, you must first be all ears to gain information about the situation.

  19. Problem-solving skills: definitions and examples

    Problem-solving skills are skills that enable people to handle unexpected situations or difficult challenges at work. Organisations need people who can accurately assess problems and come up with effective solutions. In this article, we explain what problem-solving skills are, provide some examples of these skills and outline how to improve them.

  20. 31 examples of problem solving performance review phrases

    The following examples not only relate to problem-solving but also conflict management, effective solutions, selecting the best alternatives, decision making, problem identification, analyzing effectively, and generally becoming an effective problem-solving strategist. Start using effective performance review questions to help better guide your ...

  21. What is Problem Solving? Steps, Process & Techniques

    Finding a suitable solution for issues can be accomplished by following the basic four-step problem-solving process and methodology outlined below. Step. Characteristics. 1. Define the problem. Differentiate fact from opinion. Specify underlying causes. Consult each faction involved for information. State the problem specifically.

  22. Problem Solving Skills: Performance Review Examples (Rating 1

    Paragraph Example 1. "John exceeds expectations in problem-solving. He has a strong aptitude for solving complex problems and often takes initiative in identifying and resolving issues. His ability to consider multiple perspectives and approaches before making decisions has led to valuable improvements within the team.".

  23. 12 Approaches To Problem-Solving for Every Situation

    Here are the seven steps of the rational approach: Define the problem. Identify possible causes. Brainstorm options to solve the problem. Select an option. Create an implementation plan. Execute the plan and monitor the results. Evaluate the solution. Read more: Effective Problem Solving Steps in the Workplace.

  24. 3 Steps: How to Take Initiative at Work (Examples)

    In this section, you'll be exposed to various examples of taking initiative at work. By understanding these examples and implementing them in your professional life you can make a significant impact on your career. Solving Unaddressed Problems. One way to show initiative at work is by identifying and solving unaddressed problems.

  25. Developing New Ways to Tackle Problems

    There are many ways to attack a problem; however, we can easily be caught in the rut of applying the same approach to every problem we face. In the fifth and final audiobook of Sridhar Ramanathan's series on critical thinking, Critical Thinking Skills for Engineers-Book 5: On Problem Solving, Ramanathan discusses ten different approaches to problem solving; explains each approach; and ...

  26. Conflict Resolution Strategies in Nursing

    This approach, committed to solving the problem by objectively evaluating differing views, can lead to creativity and new ideas. Compromise. This bargaining strategy recognizes the importance of resolving the relationship and can provide a temporary solution. Avoidance. In situations fueled by intense anger, avoiding conflict also provides a ...

  27. What is Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing?

    Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing Examples. There are various examples of evidence-based practice in nursing, such as: Use of oxygen to help with hypoxia and organ failure in patients with COPD ; Management of angina; Protocols regarding alarm fatigue; Recognition of a family member's influence on a patient's presentation of symptoms

  28. Sanders' 32-hour workweek plan the latest example of society's

    Sen. Bernie Sanders', I-Vt., proposal of a 32-hour workweek is the latest example of a societal trend toward the vilification of work, "How America Works" host and blue-collar labor proponent Mike ...

  29. Inside the world of Wordle at the New York Times

    One word. Five letters. Six tries. Countless moments of triumph and dismay. Wordle — the daily word game that became a cultural phenomenon during the pandemic — will release its 1000th puzzle ...