As a savvy leader, you recognize that the best approach to problem solving is to avoid a serious problem in the first place. This isn’t easy but it is possible. Early problem detection and better problem solving demand that you:
- Create an environment in which employees are encouraged to use their initiative to remedy problems when they occur. Risk is allowed. Savvy managers aren’t risk adverse.
- Undertake problem sensing. The smart manager leads staff members in using a variety of techniques to locate problems and then determine the root cause, not just a symptom of the problem. Too often, a problem reappears because its symptoms, not the reason for them, have been the focus of attention.
- View problems as opportunities and mistakes as progress. This involves turning traditional thinking about problems upside down. With some creativity, problems can lead to opportunities; mistakes in problem solving can be progress toward achieving these opportunities. A talented leader recognizes this and teaches creative thinking techniques to staff to stimulate their thinking outside the book, skills, abilities and knowledge that AMA covers in its project management programs.
- Practice techniques that enable you to choose the best solution from several good ones.
- Communicate solutions to the rest of the organization. The best managers share what their group has discovered to save other groups within the company from having to reinvent the wheel. Such trailblazing makes these managers heroes, but they communicate their discoveries because they are good corporate citizens and because they know everyone benefits from working in a secure work environment, no time better than now.