Working in a stressful and dynamic medium (workplace, organization, department) will often give rise to problems and the need for problem solving. However, one cannot simply come up with solutions to said issues without the proper (use of) problem solving skills. And we’re going to see what exactly are problem solving skills while also offering some examples of how to develop such types of abilities.
Problem Solving Skills — Types & Exercises
Defining Problem Solving Skills
When it comes to solving various types of problems, there are two elements that need focusing on. First and foremost: level-headedness and resilience for assessment. Then, also a critical component, analytical, logical, and creative thinking. Not necessarily in this order, of course.
You need logic to make sense of the problematic situation (i.e.: problem). To figure out the root, the variables that occur, and the method of approach. Logical thinking goes hand in hand with analytical thinking. Then, to make full use of your problem solving skills, creative thinking (which can also include lateral thinking) will help you figure out a solution for the problem.
Using Your Skills
First, you have to make a hypothesis about the problem. This uses the analytical and assessing step. You create the hypothesis, so you can see what is the real problem. Then, you test the hypothesis. This uses the creative thinking and creates a work frame to see if the result solves the problem, or if the are other underlying causes for the problem.
These steps are more complex because you need to make sure that, through the use of your problem solving skills, you trace the problem to its root cause. Then you follow each step to see if the solution you give, under certain circumstances (i.e.: variables), solves the problem.
Ways of Problem Solving Skills Practicing
There are multiple ways to practice your problem solving skills. There are mind games: cryptic crosswords, Sudoku, chess, bridge. They assess the analytical and logical processes of your mind. Then, of course, there are computer games. These games make use of statistical, critical, and strategical planning. And, of course, in some situations, creative thinking. Whenever you find yourself stuck, try to look for some patterns or not-so-obvious clues to come up with a solution.
These two methods will surely help you develop your problem solving skills by putting you in diverse and dynamic situations in which you have to think fast.
So, keep in mind that creative thinking, critical, lateral, and logical thinking are all ways to improve your problem solving skills. You can use them in day-to-day or important life decision making. And, if you’re working in the business area, they will even help you make strategic business decision making. Most notably, when an important decision, with a direct impact on your business, must be made.
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