Puzzle with a missing piece

Some people are better problem solvers than others— It’s a simple claim, but it’s one that I think doesn’t hold true. The key with problem solving is to hone in on strengths, to figure out where your problem-solving strengths lie. It makes sense on a personal and organizational level, because problem-solving strengths mean that each person on your team or in your organization is basing their approach to difficult challenges on the ways they like to work.

The first step in discovering problem-solving strengths at an organizational level is to understand the differences in the ways individuals solve problems. You may have a tried-and-true organizational problem-solving method, but unless each person on a team feels empowered to problem-solve in their own way, the results ain’t gonna happen. In some ways, problem solving in a defined context is like trying to put a square peg in a round hole. A person with an analytical approach isn’t going to want to come to a team consensus on how to solve a problem, at least until the research has been done and the logic is in place.

So how do you define problem-solving strengths? See if these descriptors sound like you.

Problem-Solving Strengths:

  • Divergent thinking
  • Challenges assumptions
  • Step-by-step approach
  • Seeks practical information
  • Builds off others’ ideas
  • Looks for how the solution impacts people
  • Looks at the big picture
  • Checks for connections between different problems

All of these are ways to look at problem solving, and chances are you have a strength in several of these approaches; but think about how powerful the full system of problem solving could be if you had a person with each of these problem-solving strengths.

Each of these problem-solving approaches comes from a particular Emergenetics thinking preference (Analytical thinking, Structural thinking, Social thinking, Conceptual thinking). Using all elements of problem solving is key in coming up with the best solutions. So the next step is finding out where your problem-solving strengths lie and where your team’s problem-solving strengths lie. The total package can be incredibly powerful.

Then the only thing left to do is actually solve problems. Even with your strengths intact, it’s easier said than done.

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