The process for solving a problem in the workplace often involves diffusing the situation, correctly defining the problem, and controlling any variables that might impact the outcome.
By Risa Fogel
One of the most stressful times in a person’s career is when they have to tell someone above them in the corporate hierarchy, “We have a problem.” As someone who has both delivered and received this message, I know the problem can be anything from a fairly insignificant miscommunication to a major outage in a mission-critical system. At times, the problem takes on a life of its own, causing much angst and speculation about who is going to take the blame or who is going to deliver the bad news. People get very caught up in the emotion of the situation, revisiting the problem without actually identifying a solution.
While the size of the problem dictates the amount of time and attention needed to solve it, the process for solving it remains fairly consistent. Diffusing the situation, defining the problem and controlling variables that are impacting the outcome will generally lead to a positive outcome. Outlined below are more details on these tried-and-true steps to problem solving.