It’s What is Expected of Us
Solving problems that your client or boss run into is a big part of your job. No, it’s technically not in the official job description, but it comes up frequently.
Nothing to Be Scared of
Sometimes people hear the word problem solving and think it’s some hard skill only some people possess. That’s just not true at all, we are problem-solving all day. You are already so good at it that you do it unconsciously. All you need to do is start with a passion for the problem. If you need help finding your passion read my post, “Be Passionate.”Finding your passion for the problem and the right technique to solve it, will give you successful results. Scotte Bales goes more in depth on this in his blog post “Passionate Problem Solving.”
Techniques I Use to Solve Problems
Every problem is different, so it is best to explore different techniques for different problems to learn what works best for you and the problem at hand.
The List Technique
My restaurant has recently lost a good portion of the lunch crowd
during the Winter. The owner asked me to find a way to bring more people in during the day.
In my opinion, this problem had a lot of moving parts so I thought writing things down and making multiple lists would help me see a connection we were missing.
I made a list of all of the following things:
- Why people, in general, come eat lunch at a certain restaurant.
- Our usual target audience and what they value.
- Reasons why we might have lost some of our lunch crowd
- The next list was a little complicated. I broke down some of the reasons I came up with. For example, one of the possible reasons we lost business was it was cold outside so I made a list of why people want to stay inside.
- The last list was how to solve the broken down reasons. For example, on my last list section, I addressed why people want to stay inside. One of the reasons on there was warmth, so I thought incorporating hot drinks on our lunch menu would be a solution.
I know it got a little complicated towards the end but basically, you are starting with a very general list and then get more and more specific until you reach concrete solutions. This is the most intensive approach but also my favorite because I’m just a sucker for a good list.
Looking at Things Differently
The weekend nights are our most profitable window for obvious reasons. We recently ran into a problem of too many people near the bar making it crowded even though we had all
of this other space.
This technique is pretty self-explanatory. For a while, I thought the issue was we just had
too many people trying to get a drink at once, which is partially true. Once I took a step back and looked at every different section separately instead of one big space, I realized the
DJ was causing all of our problems. We now set up the DJ at a slightly different angle and moved a little bit over. The difference is like night and day.
Everyone Is Different
If none of my techniques are for you, there is some great advice online. I found this great website that describes 7 different techniques to solve a problem.
What to Remember
The idea of people relying on you to solve their problems can be a bit scary sometimes. That’s ok though. Just remember you are a natural born problem solver. You can do this!
Quote of the Post
“If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.”- Albert Einstein