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Victor Mitchell, Award-winning CEO, lists 6 Things You Need to Do to Become an Expert Problem Solver

Originally published on marketwatch.com

When you’re up against rapidly-depleting funds, a volatile market and cutthroat competition, the last thing you need is a complainer. We all know someone who is constantly bringing up some problem or another. Some of these people are sneaky — they disguise their complaints as a legitimate concern or problem. Unsurprisingly, none of these people ever seem to have a proper solution to the problem they’re talking about.

These perpetual complainers are toxic and when you’re surrounded by them at work, it can be difficult to get anything done. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or an employee, you need to make sure you don’t give in to the urge to complain the second things get difficult. In fact, as a business owner, you will have to get really good at solving problems if you want to build a team that can achieve a goal together.

Victor Mitchell, CEO and founder of Lead Funding, suggests a few ways you can improve your problem-solving abilities:

1. Understand the reach of the problem.

Unless the problem is under your immediate control, it’s probably best not to focus on it. For example, if the value of your currency drops or a certain government legislation impedes your progress, there’s really nothing you can do about it.

When a problem occurs, determine how much power you have to influence it, and then act accordingly.

2. Don’t be biased.

Objectivity can be a tough thing to maintain in the middle of a storm, but it is crucial if you want to solve a problem effectively. Put yourself in the shoes of all the parties involved with the conflict and try to understand where they’re coming from.

3. Communicate with the parties involved.

A large majority of problems are caused due to the lack of or faulty communication. Before you make a ruling on any issue, ask lots of questions and find out if you’re operating on incorrect information.

4. Dig down to the core of the problem.

As a problem solver, you need to treat the disease, not the symptom. If you’ve followed the above steps and gathered enough information, the next step is ensuring if there’s a more deep-seated problem at hand. Once you’ve understood where the root of the issue lies, you can take actions to fix it once and for all.

5. Choose the most optimal course of action.

There are usually several ways to come at any given problem. But when you’re operating in real time, it’s likely you won’t have the time or the resources to try all of them to see which works. As a result, you have to evaluate all of the available options and try to pick those which are most likely to succeed under the current circumstances.

6. Reframe the problem as an opportunity.

Language is an extremely powerful tool for influencing emotion, especially in situations where you’re trying to solve a problem.

For example, let’s assume that your e-commerce website isn’t getting too many leads from organic search traffic, but your Facebook page is getting fairly good results. If you have limited funds, instead of saying “Our website is failing”, you can reframe the problem as “We need to divert our resources towards increasing the outreach of our Facebook page.” When you talk about the problem as a solution, you’re more likely to get your team to devote their time to solving it.

Problem solving is a skill that every entrepreneur needs to get good at. You’ll face a lot of problems of varying complexity and having a mental framework for tackling them will hold you in good stead when the going gets rough. Don’t complain relentlessly about issues that plague your business. Become good at finding the opportunities that lie within them.

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