Many employers are recognizing the value and placing significant investments in developing the problem solving skills of their employees. While we often think about these skills in the work context, problem solving isn’t just helpful in the workplace. Here are 10 everyday uses for problem solving skills that can you may not have thought about
1. Stuck in traffic and late for work, again
With busy schedules and competing demands for your time, getting where you need to be on time can be a real challenge. When traffic backs up, problem solving skills can help you figure out alternatives to avoid congestion, resolve the immediate situation and develop a solution to avoid encountering the situation in the future.
2. What is that stain on the living room carpet?
Parents, pet owners and spouses face this situation all the time. The living room carpet was clean yesterday but somehow a mysterious stain has appeared and nobody is claiming it. In order to clean it effectively, first you need to figure out what it is. Problem solving can help you track down the culprit, diagnose the cause of the stain and develop an action plan to get your home clean and fresh again.
3. What is that smell coming from my garden shed?
Drawing from past experiences, the seasoned problem solver in you suspects that the source of the peculiar odor likely lurks somewhere within the depths of the shed. Your challenge now lies in uncovering the origin of this scent, managing its effects, and formulating a practical plan to prevent such occurrences in the future.
4. I don’t think the car is supposed to make that thumping noise
As with many problems in the workplace, this may be a situation to bring in problem solving experts in the form of your trusted mechanic. If that isn’t an option, problem solving skills can be helpful to diagnose and assess the impact of the situation to ensure you can get where you need to be.
5. Creating a budget
Tap into your problem-solving prowess as you embark on the journey of budgeting. Begin by determining what expenses to include in your budget, and strategize how to account for unexpected financial surprises. The challenge lies in crafting a comprehensive budget that not only covers your known expenses but also prepares you for the uncertainties that may arise.
6. My daughter has a science project – due tomorrow
Sometimes the challenge isn’t impact, its urgency. Problem solving skills can help you quickly assess the situation and develop an action plan to get that science project done and turned in on time.
7. What should I get my spouse for his/her birthday?
As with many problems, this one may not have a “right answer” or apparent solution. Its time to apply those problem solving skills to evaluate the effects of past decisions combined with current environmental signals and available resources to select the perfect gift to put a smile on your significant other’s face.
8. The office printer suddenly stopped working, and there are important documents that need to be printed urgently.
Uh oh, time to think quickly. There is an urgent situation that must be addressed to get things back to normal, a cause to be identified (what’s causing the printer issue), and an action plan to resolve it. Problem solving skills can help you avoid stress and ensure that your documents are printed on time.
9. I’m torn between two cars! Which one should I choose?
In a world brimming with countless choices, employ decision analysis as your trusty tool to navigate the sea of options. Whether you’re selecting a car (or any other product), the challenge is to methodically identify and evaluate the best choices that align with your unique needs and preferences.
10. What’s for dinner?
Whether you are planning to eat alone, with family or entertaining friends and colleagues, meal planning can be a cause of daily stress. Applying problem solving skills can put the dinner dilemma into perspective and help get the food on the table and keep everyone happy.
Problem Solving skills aren’t just for the workplace – they can be applied in your everyday life. Kepner-Tregoe can help you and your team develop your problem solving skills through a combination of training and consulting with our problem solving experts.