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7 Steps to Effective Problem Solving

May 7, 2015

Last month I attended a leadership seminar and I returned to the office with tons of ideas. One thing that I know I’ll put to good use is a seven-step process for problem solving. This relates to both radio sales and programming.

When a sales rep conducts a CNA, they are looking at the client’s situation as a problem that can be solved with – hopefully – advertising on the radio. And a programmer needs to determine the problem before they can implement new strategies to increase listenership.

The next time you’re faced with a problem, try working through it using these seven steps.

  1. Identify the problem. What is happening? Why is it happening? What should be happening instead?
  2. Gather the facts. The relevant facts will vary greatly depending on the problem. It could be dates and times, places, people, impact, perception, etc.
  3. Determine possible solutions. Collect ideas from people with differing viewpoints.
  4. Investigate your options. Use techniques such as SWOT analysis to assess the possible solutions.
  5. Select your problem-solving method. Based on your investigation, narrow it down to the three or so best solutions. Then select which one you think will be most effective.
  6. Implementation. With the decision-making behind you, implement your chosen method. Monitor and adjust along the way.
  7. Evaluate. Don’t be tempted to skip this step. Discuss what worked well and what you would do differently next time. What came up that you didn’t anticipate? Use these lessons the next time you’re faced with a problem.

I know sometimes it seems like there’s no time to stop and think; you just want to fix the problem and get on with your day. But in the long run, deliberate decision making will save time and yield better results.

Would you like to share any of your own tips on problem-solving? Please comment below!

-Anne Doyle, Production Manager