At any given day, an organization faces a plethora of small issues and big problems. This just cannot be avoided no matter how stable the company is. Problems will always arise as long as the company is functioning. This is why no matter what the level of your position is, it always helps to have good problem solving skills.
Do you currently find yourself faced with a recurring problem at work? There are just some problems that are tricky to solve. Sometimes, a problem seems small at first but it actually has a major underlying cause which makes it so hard to solve.
Now, if you are faced with a problem, how do usually solve it? And what do you want to achieve? If your goal is to mitigate the issue almost permanently, then what you need is critical thinking skills.
Let’s use an example to further understand why critical thinking is important in problem solving or what does critical thinking mean.
For example, a company’s sales have been decreasing. Now there are many possible causes of this problem. The most obvious solution might be to do something about changing price points or enhancing product quality. However, you need to realize that the most obvious solution is not always the best one. In fact, it is rarely true that the most obvious solution is the one you actually need.
So in this case, you need to look at the bigger picture. Figure out the problem as a whole. It will help if you write down all the details of the issue and its implications. This is how you begin putting critical thinking to work.
And then, what’s next? After you’ve analyzed the problem, start asking questions. Asking a lot of questions will help you discover the real cause. So, if sales are going down, could there be something wrong with the product? Could there be something wrong with the selling platform? Is it possible that the customer management team is not reaching their goals? Is it possible that a competitor is doing something that the company failed to look out? There are so many possibilities that you might not even realize.
Once you look at the problem at hand from every possible perspective and asked all the good questions, then it will be easier to identify the real cause of the problem. And when the real cause is identified, then you can move forward in finding solutions to address it. You might be surprised that the best solution is something that you’ve never even thought about before.
When implementing the solution, it is important to do some monitoring as well. It is not advisable to simply implement the solution and expect it to work automatically. You still need to keep an eye on it and see if it is indeed achieving the results that you are expecting. If it’s not, then maybe you can consider alternative solutions.
The key to solving any problem is to get to the bottom of it. Whether at work or in your personal life, having critical thinking skills can help you diminish a problem before it gets worse.