Solving Problems

Solving Problems 6 step problem solving strategy! – This activity is very useful for getting students to identify the causes and puzzle-535510_1280effects of workplace problems and to work as a team to come up with a solution to solve the problem. It is based on a problem solving strategy that is used by many major companies around the world. The activity is broken up into three tasks and each task involves two steps in the strategy.

Nine Best Problem Solving Techniques Article (Student’s Worksheet)


Solving Problems- 6 step problem solving strategy!

3 Sections:

  • Clearly identify the problem and analyze its causes.
  • Step 1. Recognize and define the problem.
  • Step 2. Analyze the problem and its causes.


  • Discuss possible solutions, their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Step 3. Brainstorm creative solutions.
  • Step 4. Consider the pros and cons of each solution


  • Choose the most suitable solution and describe why it can work.
  • Step 5. Choose the best solution.
  • Step 6. Implement the solution and evaluate the decision.


Step 1. Recognize and define the problem!

  • Is it a person or people creating the problem: who is involved?
  • Is it an obstacle creating the problem: what is the problem?
  • Is the issue a goal you are trying to accomplish: what are you trying to achieve? 


Step 2. Analyze the problem and its causes!

  • Gather all the facts about the who, what, where, when, how and why of the problem.  


Step 3. Brainstorm creative solutions!

  • Brainstorm possible solutions to the problem
  • Collect as many ideas as possible


Step 4. Consider the pros and cons of each solution

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages?
  • Who/what will these decisions affect?
  • Are these options practical?


Step 5. Choose the best solution!

  •    Which solution will best solve the problem?
  •    Is it the best solution in the long run?
  •    Is there any risk involved?
  •    Can it be realistically implemented?


Step 6. Implement the solution and evaluate the decision!

  • How can we implement this solution?
  • What are the long-term effects?


Useful vocabulary and phrases:

The best way is to…
We could either…or…
It would be a good idea to…
There’s another alternative
It might be better to…
The third possibility is…
You shouldn’t forget…
Other options include…
Why don’t we consider..?
We will adopt…
We have several choices… 
We mustn’t rule out…
Weigh the pros and cons!

Task 1

Attempt step 1 & 2 using the given problem?

  1. Recognize and define the problem
  2. Analyze the problem and its causes


  1. What can you see that causes you to think there is a problem?
  2. Where is it happening?
  3. How is it happening?
  4. When is it happening?
  5. With whom is it happening?
  6. Why is it happening?

Please, present all these details for step 1 & 2?


Task 2

Attempt step 3 & 4 using the information from step 1 & 2?

  1. Brainstorm creative solutions
  2. Consider the pros and cons of each solution


  1. Brainstorm as many solutions as possible
  2. Choose the 3 best solutions
  3. List the pros and cons of each solution

Present the 3 best solutions and the pros and cons for each one?


Task 3

Attempt step 5 & 6 using the solutions from Task 3?

  1. Choose a solution
  2. Implement the solution and evaluate the decision


  1. Why is it the best solution to solve the problem?
  2. How can it work in the long run?
  3. Is there any risk involved?
  4. Can it be realistically implemented?
  5. How can it be implemented?


Read the article and answer the questions below.

Nine Best Problem Solving Techniques   by Gloria Towolawi

Problem solving is an everyday life reality. Consequently, managers and supervisors of human capital asset need to handle issues in such a way that the organization does not get into any kind of litigation or unwanted publicity. These techniques can also be used to resolve managerial bottlenecks. To help organizations see problems as opportunities the following problem solving technique is explained below.

1.Identify the issues and opportunities surrounding the scenario

Described adequately the situation by identifying all key stakeholder perspectives to the situation; state the opportunities in such a way that they lead to the formulation of a problem that addresses the desired end-state goals.

2.Identify and describe the problem

Develop a problem statement that clearly identifies the gap between the current state, and the desired end state goals; define the problem in such a way that there are multiple possible solutions.

3.Develop a set of end-state goals against which to evaluate the alternative solutions

Develop a set of goals that define the desired future state, which can be used to assess the potential solutions, taking into account key stakeholder concerns. In other words, develop a clear set of goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely, SMART.

4.Identify and describe alternative solutions that are substantiated by research findings

Do benchmark research on companies that have undergone similar situations to justify the possible alternative solutions.

5.Analyze the alternative solutions considering the desired future state

Provide a comprehensive assessment of the potential alternative solutions, using the end-state goals identified. In other words, use an analytical approach that weighs the differences among the solutions.

6.Assess the risks associated with solutions

Narrow the list of alternatives to two or three and assess the risks associated with these alternative solutions according to their ability to meet the end-state goals. Also, provide a risk mitigation plan for the risks identified.

7.Selection of optimal solution

Identify an optimal solution and defend it with an explanation of how it mitigates risks, meets key stakeholder needs, and is substantiated by benchmarking data.

8.Implementation Plan

Provide a detailed implementation plan for the recommended solution, including all necessary actions and tasks, key milestones, financial projections, and critical success factors. Furthermore, perform a gap analysis to demonstrate an understanding of any potential barriers that might arise when undertaking proposed actions and tasks and suggest potential contingencies.

9.Identify metrics to measure outcomes

Identify qualitative and quantitative metrics for key outcomes identified in the implementation plan, taking into account needs of key stakeholders. Justified the selected metrics based on an evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of each. Towolawi has MBA in Human Resources Management. She discusses workplace issues, regulatory updates, industry best practice etc. She will like you to subscribe to her weekly newsletter. []

1. Managers and supervisors want to avoid litigation.


2. The techniques can help create managerial bottlenecks.


3. Opportunities and issues should be clearly identified.


4. Describe the problem by offering one possible solution.


5. A set of goals should be developed that are SMART.


6. Benchmark research on companies in similar situations should be done.


7. Differences between possible solutions should be disregarded.


8. An optimal solution should be backed up by anecdotal evidence.


9. The implementation plan should contain potential contingencies.


10. The selected metrics should have a list of strengths and weaknesses.


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