Monday, June 22, 2009

Problem Solving For Business Success and Innovation

By John R Hewitt

No matter how successful your business, or personal life, becomes you will inevitably come across problems. In fact how one deals with problems as they arise is a key skill that can become the main contributing factor to your business success.

Now we are not going to look at specific problems and their solutions, for the list would be infinite! Instead what we shall be doing is discussing the ways that we can approach problems and pinpoint solutions from the nature of the problem itself.

Where there is a problem, there lays the solution for the two do go hand in hand and this viewpoint will release a little pressure as you come to realize you are actually looking at the solution itself.

Whatever the problem may be there are only two ways that you can approach the situation. In a state of panic, in varying degrees from mild to severe or approach with confidence that seems to have no degrees at all. You are either confident or you are not.

Now when you approach any situation with panic there is a tension within you that prevents optimum clarity and optimum efficiency. We all know that in extremely tough situations we breath quicker, our heartbeat is quicker and in fact our breathing becomes more shallow and we focus on the higher section of the chest for energy.

This puts us in a "flight or fight" mode that reduces us to baser instincts and prevents a more focused or even creative way of dealing with the situation. Forcibly breathing from the abdomen in a slow and controlled manner will, with practice, allow one to become calm and allow the adrenaline to ease off and allow the mind to be the focus rather than the body.

This method is used in therapies of all kinds and also in self defense classes and within the martial arts. Now this may seem a little extreme for business problem solving, yet you will find that as you approach any problem in this manner you will gain so much more insight than you had before.

Again, assuming that the problem does in fact hold the solution, this approach will allow the mind to clear and the whole playing field to be made visible, thus allowing the solution to come forth.

The next stage of problem solving comes from your own self confidence. This is not just a confidence in your skills related to your work, it is also the confidence that you have about yourself as a human being.

Yes your working knowledge will come forward but also so should your intelligence, your creativity and your mental focus and conditioning. These will all play a huge part in the problem solving process.

As a manager, courses in self confidence, conflict management and possibly even meditative practice can greatly benefit your employees not just for the problem solving techniques that they can learn but also for their own morale which will spread throughout the company as more employees gain more confidence.

The other side of this is that with techniques such as these as well as adopting the state of mind that we have discussed, you should start to see a reduction in the problems that do arise in the first place. This then becomes the ultimate problem solving mechanism; the problems never arise to begin with.

Another idea is that the problem is not actually a problem but is in fact a clear sign of how a specific area within your business could be improved. If we are driving and we take a wrong turn how do we know? We know because the traffic sign directing us to our destination is pointing a different way. So rather than approaching the sign as a problem we obviously see the sign as a guide for us to turn around.

This may sound incredibly obvious yet from a business perspective we can thus approach problems as good indicators as what we need to do differently or which direction our business might have to take. So the problems become solutions and we are grateful for the indicators that show us the way forward.

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