8 Steps for Solving Problems

This is a repost of a previous article from the author, speaker Barry Gottlieb

One of my favourite mentors, Brian Tracy, created eight steps for solving problems. Here they are in simple terms:

  • Step One… Start with a positive attitude. It is really important to approach any situation with the confident expectation that you will find the best possible solution if there is there is some problem. Control your attitude, stay calm and relaxed. In doing so, you clear your mind for possible solutions.
  • Step Two… Change your negative way of communication to positive. Use words like “situation” or “challenge”, instead of “problem”. These words are more neutral and they keep your mindset from being negative. “You rise to the challenge.”
  • Step Three… Try to define the situation, by writing it as much clear as you can. Always think on paper! Focus on what the situation really is. Be sure to ask,  “Is this really the challenge, or is it something else?”
  • Step Four… Ask, “What are the reasons that caused this situation?” If you fail to do this step, there is a good chance you will have to go back in solving it again.
  • Step Five… Write down all the possible ways of solving the situation. Remember, the rewards in life are for finding the solutions, not for complaining about the problems. Write as many solutions as possible; the quantity can often show you the quality of the solution you have chosen. Keep in mind that doing nothing may be a good solution.
  • Step Six… Make the best decision! Teddy Roosevelt once said,

    “The best decision is the right decision. The next best decision is the wrong decision. The worst decision is no decision.”

  • Step Seven… Be sure someone is given ownership and responsibility to execute the chosen decision. Be sure to include a finish date for starting and for completing the task.
  • Step Eight… Observe the decision. Determine how and when the task will be measured. Remember to inspect what you expect. Be flexible! You may have to find other solutions and establish new means.

Remember… Every day is a gift, and the quality of your life is your gift to yourself.