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Problems, Solutions, and Risk

By: Janet Ford

Are you a problem solver? Are you flexible? Do you support risk taking? How well do you manage crisis situations? Supervisors and managers are continually tasked with addressing and solving workplace problems. At times this requires managing crisis situations and taking intelligent risks. Below are a few suggestions for effectively solving problems and managing crisis situations.

Problem Solving

· Try to come up with at least two solutions to every issue or problem

· Use the pro vs. con analysis when considering solutions.

· Consider all facts, issues and perceptions that are relevant and dismiss those that are not

· Make sure the cost of the solution is less than the cost of the problem

· Select solutions that result in a positive outcome for the majority


· Break traditions that stifle new ideas or better ways of doing things

· Be open-mined and listen and consider using the suggestions of others

· Pull down the barriers to progression by squelching statements such as “We’ve tried that before”.

· Don’t make all decisions permanent but be willing to make changes as needed.

Take a Risk

· Establish guidelines for intelligent risk taking

· Identify acceptable risk taking behavior for others

· Use failure as developmental experiences for future improvements

· Celebrate those who take intelligence risks regardless of the outcome

Positive Crisis Management

· Always approach a problem as a team. Allow everyone the opportunity to “own” a piece of the problem and contribute to the solution.

· As leader of the team, critically assess your behavior and reaction to the situation. The team will be watching and follow suit.

· Communicate, communicate, communicate; Use the 5/3 Status Briefing Rule – 5minute updates at the beginning, middle and end of each day.

· Have a Post-Mortem Celebration. Review what happened, identify key learning points and celebrate the accomplishment of successfully getting through it together.

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