Great leaders are great problem solvers. Being able to put solutions into action puts you at center stage and provides people with the direction they often need. Applying the following tips will help you attack and solve any issue:

1) Identify the Problem

Ask an unlimited number of questions to first find out what the problem actually is no sense in coming up with a great solution for the wrong problem! Think of a doctor who asks multiple searching questions while performing an examination. This gives her a great deal of information that will be invaluable in coming up with a diagnosis. And don’t be afraid to ask “dumb” questions give yourself permission to explore every possibility.

“Never try to solve all the problems at once — make them line up for you one-by-one.”— Richard Sloma

2) Advocate

Once you understand what you’re up against you have to help people realize the magnitude of the problem and the potential pitfalls of not solving it effectively. This involves discussing the full scope of the issue, including any downstream effects, and persuading them that they need to be part of the solution.

  “The best way to escape from a problem is to solve it.” — Brendan Francis

3) Brainstorming

Take time to brainstorm possible ways to resolve the problem. Do not rush this process. People often want to prevent and solve problems before they even appear. Write down all ideas, even the ones that seem absurd or bizarre. Try to find 6-8 varying alternatives when resolving a particular problem.

“Whatever failures I have known, whatever errors I have committed, whatever follies I have witnessed in public and private life, have been the consequences of action without thought.”— Bernard Baruch

4) Strategize

If you fail to plan, you may as well plan to fail. Outline a step-by-step plan as to how the problem will be tackled. Rather than merely giving commands, find a way to make people believe that the solution is their own idea. If you are facing opposition, help people recognize how your solution will benefit them personally.

“The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.”— Theodore Rubi

5) Delegate and follow up

Be sure the group has a handle on the problem and can effectively put your plans into action. Don’t be afraid to delegate, but be sure you check in regularly to see how things are progressing.

“Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer.–Denis Waitley

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