Rockstar problem-solving for beginners

There is no such thing as a simple problem. That’s what makes problem-solving so integral for success in the business world.

By 

Derek Murray

Problem-solving

Problem-solving

By 

Derek Murray

3 minutes

“Success is a collection of problems solved.”
–I.M. Pei, Chinese-American architect


There is no such thing as a simple problem. That’s what makes problem-solving so integral for success in the business world. Consumers are diverse, multi-faceted individuals with a variety of different needs—which makes complex problem-solving the name of the game.

Just ask former senior partner at McKinsey & Company, Bob Dvorak. As a returning guest on Episode 11 of Think Deeply, Speak Simply—Rockstar Problem Solving—Bob shares his best practices for breaking down problems to discover inspiring solutions.

His unique methods prove how addressing issues head-on can help cultivate a more successful organization for you and your executive suite. They can also help prevent small problems from snowballing into larger, more detrimental crises.

Here are Bob’s most effective methods for problem-solving and presenting powerful solutions.

Use a three-step approach

Dividing your problem into three steps can help you tackle solutions appropriately. Bob’s recommendation is to segment your approach as follows:

  1. Identify the problem
    What problem are you attempting to solve? You may be surprised, but what you initially perceive to be the problem usually isn’t the real issue. This makes crystallizing the right problem critical before you try to solve it. This saves you from expending wasted energy on the wrong area and saves you valuable time in the long run.
  2. Solve the problem
    Many people might make the false assumption that solving the problem is the final step in this equation. Bob Dvorak is a big opponent of this misconception. Instead, he advocates that solving the problem is the middle step that can be easiest if steps one and three are executed well.
  3. Accept the solution
    Acceptance of the solution is just as important as putting the solution into action. This step involves anticipating and getting over concerns that can potentially act as roadblocks to putting your solution into effect. There are multiple factors to consider, like:
    - How is this solution going to change my job?
    - How will it affect office politics at my workplace?
    - How will it change the employees and friends I surround myself with?

By addressing and accepting the answers to these questions, you can finally get to the goal line of what you’ve been hoping to achieve all along: impact and change.

Use relatable analogies

Speaking in dense, technical language won’t gain you any fans.

Instead, seek to use analogies everyone understands; ones that are so basic and universal no one can deny them as truth. These engaging anecdotes translate into a powerful language that sticks with people and inspires them to act without having to think too hard. By distilling complex data into something more natural and receptive to your listeners, you’re far more likely to walk away with a captivated audience.

Add these practices to your daily communication to become a rockstar problem-solver!
You can listen to the full Bob Dvorak podcast episode here.

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