Why Complex Problem Solving Will Be The Skill Most Employers Want By 2020
It’s always interesting to read about the skill sets that employers want their workforce to have and how these have changed over the years.
A report from the World Economic Forum called “The Future of Jobs,” which surveyed executives from more than 350 employers across nine industries in 15 of the world’s largest economies, uncovered the top 10 skill sets respondents said will be most in demand by 2020. Whilst the list includes skills like cognitive flexibility and negotiation skills, the one in poll position was the ability to problem solve, with 36% of all jobs across all industries expected to require complex problem-solving abilities as a core skill by 2020.
Now we all know that there’s no one best way to solve a problem, and the ways you might use to fix it will of course depend on the actual problem you face; every problem is different. Nonetheless, many experts suggest there are a number of key things that will help you approach your problem solving more easily.
Doing some of these things early on can really help you solve the problem faster and with less struggle and pain. And your ability to respond in this way could well example your appeal as a great problem-solver and potential new recruit for a prospective employer.
5 Top Tips for Advice on How to Solve Problems Effectively
1. Accept the problem
When you accept that the problem already exists and stop resisting it, then you also stop putting more energy into the problem and “feeding” it. Now it just exists (well, more or less, you might still feel a bit down about it). And you can use the energy you previously fed the problem with – the energy that probably made the problem look bigger than it was – to find creative solutions to the challenge.
2. Get knowledge - and help
Gathering some good information about your problem can often decrease that uncertain anxiety and fear we face when we are challenged with something. Knowledge blows away the clouds of fear around a problem. And we often find the problem might not be as bad as we thought.
As for help. You can ask other people for advice on what to do and what they did in similar situations to yours. But you can also ask for more practical help. You don’t have to solve every problem on your own and sometimes it feels better to have someone by your side, even if it is just for emotional support.
3. More than one solution
Come up with more than one potential solution. You don’t know what you will actually work before you try it. What might seem like a good solution in theory doesn’t always work in reality. So brain-storm and come up with at least a few solutions. If the first doesn’t work, simply try the next one.
4. Redefine failure
This is important both to handle fear of failure for the whole problem and to get you to start trying different solutions without too much hesitation. If you look at the most successful people you will quickly notice that they have a different response to failure than the more common one. They don’t take failure or rejection that seriously. They know it’s not the end of the world if they fail. Instead, they look at each failure and see the good part – what they can learn from it and improve next time.
Redefine any failure as feedback and a natural part of a successful life.
So when you’re faced with a problem, ask yourself:-
- How can I use this?
- What’s the good thing about this?
- What can I learn from this?
- What hidden opportunity can I find within this problem?
5. Break it down
Break down the problem into smaller pieces. Solving a complex problem can seem overwhelming and impossible if you take it all in at once. To decrease anxiety and think more clearly, try to break the problem down.
Try to identify the different tasks and people it consists of. Then work out one practical solution you can take for each of those. Try those solutions. They may not solve the whole problem immediately. But they might solve a few pieces of it. And then you can keep trying other solutions for the rest of the pieces until there are none left.
As Business Development Director for Creativedge Training & Development Ltd, my main focus is to drive and increase new business opportunities for Creativedge.
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