It is a much overused word, it seems everyone claims to be a problem solver in their CV’s today, but what does it really mean to be one and how do you hone the skills.
My job demands that I am good at this particular skill.
With a to-do list that rarely maintains the same content/ priorities for long and as the go to person when things go wrong you really wouldn’t get too far without it.
Being a creative problem solver is not a skill you are born with but a skill that can be consciously developed, here are some of my ideas on how you could become one too …
Being Comfortable With Change And Uncertainty
An essential part of being a creative problem solver is not needing everything to make sense up front. As a born organiser this is something I struggled with early on in my career, I felt unsettled and out of control if I wasn’t able to make things happen immediately.
It took me years to realise that I would only able to count myself as really great at my job when I had learned to become comfortable with …
Not knowing how things were going to be around the corner
How they were ultimately going to work out.
The flip side of this and one I think you will find with many people reliant on being able to deal with constant change … they build lots of routine in to their lives to balance it out.
We all need a balance between structure and spontaneity.
My weekdays at work are hectic and based upon an ever changing landscape so my weekend/ home life are based catching up on my peace and continuity.
No one can run at a hundred miles as hour all the time and unless you want to burn out you really shouldn’t try.
First Attempt In Learning (FAIL)
You can’t be worried about failing – it absolutely will happen and you should never take it personally. Many people try to hide from failure because of the almost primal feelings of inadequacy and frustration associated with it.
Successful people know that these feelings, however strong, should be entirely ignored. To be human is to fail and the only productive way to deal with it is to reframe the experience and make a decision to move ever onwards and upwards as soon as possible.
My 8 Year old very excitedly told me about FAIL when she I came home from work one day a few weeks ago. She had been learning about it in school and was delighted with the concept.
The first time I really realised the power of it was when I was teaching her how to ride her new and much bigger bike last weekend … she was frustrated with falling off and on the point of giving up when we talked about FAIL. Instead of descending further into the stubborn and relentless ‘I DON’T WANT TO’ as children her age can have a tendency towards she got up, brushed herself off and carried on trying.
Realising that there are times that you will fail helps you accept, deal with and move on when you do.
It isn’t the number of times that you fall that count
That the number of times you rise always outnumbers them by 1!
Have The End In Mind But Be Flexible On The Route
You can only work out the most efficient route to a destination when you know where that destination is. What exactly is it that you are trying to achieve and work backwards from there.
It is one of the principles of great project management …
Know where you are going
But constantly reassess your route and goals
Be flexible and open minded enough to make adjustments along the way.
There can be many paths to the same place.
And you should never assume that the place you are aiming to get to remains the same either. Over time and with changing priorities the destination might change, always keep that in mind.
Never Stop Listening, Learning & Questioning
I read as much as I can, listen to as many people as I can and question what I am doing/ how I am doing it almost constantly.
Sometimes it feels exhausting to be honest but for 99% of the time I know the benefits that an inquisitive mind affords me … especially in my capacity as a problem solver.
You should never assume you have the absolute right answer.
And being aware of and questioning your assumptions should be constant.
The greater your knowledge and experience the greater the well from which to make connections/ innovations that might not have occurred to you otherwise.
Never tire of building up those resources.
Add A Word To Your Vocabulary … YET!
This is an important word for problem solvers, use it more!
I haven’t found the answer … yet!
It isn’t quite right … yet!
I am not sure how we get that done … yet!
It reminds us that this is a process … an ongoing process that will follow you through life.
And the better you get at it, the easier and more productive life becomes!
And on that note … enjoy the rest of your weekend, J 🙂