Welcome to yet another article in Effective Leadership series. In this article, we will see in detail about analyzing problems. Problems can even be called as challenges in other words. It can be defined as something that is difficult to sort. Any such obstacles can be overcome with the help of positive thinking. A deep analysis of the issue can help in finding a pathway to solve the issue. With proper exploration, any problem can be converted into a solution. Every problem in this world will not go alone. It will always provide a good learning to the team. Always look at problems as an opportunity to learn something new and try not to repeat the same mistake again and again. A problem can be approached in both simple and complicated manner. It is always advisable to approach the problem in a simple manner and look forward to implementing easy solutions.
Postive thinking – First step towards a solution
Some people found the word problem to be more disturbing. They started to use the word opportunities or challenges instead of using the word problem. This is the first step towards a solution because there should be a positive thinking approach always to make things easier for us to solve. The word challenge gives a good psychological feeling when used as an alternative to the word problem. Even though just positive thinking will not give us any solution directly to the problem, it will at least give a good focus to look out for solutions to the problem. When a problem is identified, the process of RCA – Root Cause Analysis starts. During the course of RCA, it is very important to not blame anyone even though we identify it was all their fault. Instead, we can just describe the cause of the issue and take further steps to avoid such issues in the future. If we start doing the blame game, there will not be any productivity and positivity in the team. It can even affect the team’s operating procedures and be a hindrance for personal and professional learning.
Examining the facts
Every problem will consist of lots of facts. The issue that usually occurs can either be a one-off issue or something that occurs repeatedly. During such cases, a problem solver should think in all the aspects and list out all the facts in the form of questions to get an answer before trying to find ways to solve the problem. In order to drill down the issue, a problem solver should ask multiple questions like below:
- Why did this issue occur?
- What would have caused the issue?
- What will be the impact of this issue?
- How this issue can be solved?
- How easy is it to find a workaround?
- Will there be any clients affected?
- What difficulties this problem can create?
- Is everyone aware of this issue?
- What should be done if the issue occurs again?
If the above questions are asked, the surfacing answers will provide the essential facts to drill down the issue and find the right solution. Based on the answers that a person gets in his mind to the above questions, the solution complexity can be analysed and optimal solution can be provided. All the facts should be readily available before a decision is made to implement a solution. If required a meeting should be conducted with the entire team to analyze the problem and finalize the best solution. A leader may not be able to do this alone without the help of the team.
Most of the issues are due to a small miss. This can either be a technical issue or a functional issue based on the type of the problem. All these information will be clearly available after a complete analysis of the issue. While implementing solutions for the problem or even when analysing the problem, there is a high possibility that there can be multiple hurdles which the problem solver need to cross. The identified questions should not only be asked to others but also to yourself repeatedly. Asking questions to yourself repeatedly will help in overcoming the obstacles easily. There can be cases where after the identification of the root cause of the issue, there will be a necessity to re-align the objective. It can either be a realign of the object or to remove the obstacle and make sure it doesn’t happen again. While analysing the problem, if you come across hurdles, it is very important to make a good plan to implement the solution. During the planning session, there should also be a consideration to overcome any hurdles that can surface during solution implementation as well. Effective leaders always look for the best opportunity to overcome hurdles and make sure a similar issue doesn’t happen in the future. A weak leader will ignore several aspects and end up closing the incident without any proper long-term efficient action.
Identifying the pain area
Analysing problems not only represents identifying challenges and issues in an implemented process or product. There can also be situations where the process will need enhancements to make things work better. In order to analyze the actual problem and identify the steps, the leaders should be first aware of the pain area in the process. This can be identified with the help of a meeting with the associated staff members. While discussing the entire process, the pain area can easily be identified and further analysis can be made. These pain areas can be easily converted into challenges or opportunities in the team to make things work better. Analyse, plan and act are the three ways in which any type of problem is solved. In order to identify the pain area, sometimes it may be necessary to talk to the whole team instead of just a few selected members of the team. To make it more productive and efficient, all the staff members should be given equal opportunity to express their pain area and the leadership team can look forward to making things work better.
Hope you had an interesting read. Share your views on this topic in the comments section.
My previous articles in this series: