Day 9 – Problem solving The capacity for effective problem solving is critical for resiliency. The capacity to deal effectively with adversity depends on a person having access to a range of flexible strategies for addressing conflict, seeking help, and dealing with unforeseen setbacks.
The problem solving process Problem solving can be broken down into a four-step process which can be applied to almost any type of problem, from the social to the scientific:
Identify the problem
Evaluate the possible solutions, decide on the best course of action, and put it into action
Evaluate the outcome. If the problem is not solved, repeat from step 2.
Identify the problem This step may sound obvious, but sometimes identifying the problem can be more difficult than it appears. Once the problem is clearly identified, this often goes more than half-way to solving it. Identifying the problem means clearly working out what one's goal is, and what is currently preventing one from achieving this outcome. Generate solutions The key at this stage of the process is not to be overly critical or evaluative of the solutions generated, but to simply think of as many different ways of solving or addressing the problem as possible. This is like a 'brain-storm'. You get more creative solutions if you feel free to table anything. Evaluate solutions and choose the best one to act on Having generated a list of possible approaches to dealing with the problem, it is now necessary to evaluate each of the options and decide which is the preferred approach, taking into consideration everything that might be relevant to the decision. One's knowledge is rarely perfect, so this is a matter of a 'best guess' in most cases. Evaluate the outcome Having tried a solution, it is important to evaluate the success of the solution. If it hasn't worked, return to step 2, and revisit the possible solutions. Continue this process until the problem is resolved.
Author Michael Auden is the foundation Executive Director of Resilience Australia. Michael has had a life time of experience as a teacher, trainer and mentor. His work with schools and families has centred on empowering individuals to work on their aspirations for a cohesive and socially just community. He has conducted workshops to empower over 13,000 Australians over recent years.
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