Logo Shizen white


3 Quick, actionable tips for problem solving

How do you engage people in problem-solving? Ask for the bad news first.

Bad News First!

Within an organization, one of the first problems we encounter in problem solving is often that we don’t even know there’s a problem.

This often comes from an environment steeped in the culture of success, an environment in which people are afraid to point out their failures, the mistakes they make or the problems they encounter.

So the first problem with problem solving is that you don’t ask what the bad news is in the first place, you don’t see the absence of a problem as a problem in itself.

We have to accept and start from the premise that within any organization, there are problems, and that the role of management is to create an environment, a culture, a framework in which the people who make up that organization feel comfortable putting forward their problems and sharing their mistakes.

One of the easiest ways to set this up is to encourage people to point out problems they’re having, or things that could be improved or aren’t working, and thank them for it.

What’s really the problem?

The second problem with problem solving is that we need to know what the problem really is.

Very often, the problem raised is not the real problem, but a confused interpretation of an individual’s expectations, and the manager’s role is to unravel this interpretation in order to better understand the situation to be achieved. Has it been stated clearly and precisely from the outset? Has it been communicated and shared with everyone concerned?

Once we’ve clarified where we want to be, we need to know where we are now. And where does the gap between these two situations come from?

Generate ideas galore

The third problem with problem solving is often not generating enough ideas to solve the problem.

It’s not about jumping straight to solutions, but rather finding a way to generate creative ideas for testing new things.

You’re not the only one responsible

The final problem with problem solving is the challenge faced by managers. They feel responsible for the problems they learn about, and for solving them.

But that’s not the manager’s role.

The manager’s role is to provide a clear vision of the objectives and targets to be achieved, and then offer the necessary support for problem-solving.

What questions can you ask others that will improve their problem-solving skills?

Your role is to create an environment in which your employees can raise the difficulties and problems they encounter in complete confidence, without the risk of being criticized or judged, and in the knowledge that they will have the support they need to solve the problem they have encountered.


The three pieces of advice Shizen can give you regarding problem solving is to solve more problems, engage more people in problem solving and take the actions necessary to create the success your business needs.

All this can only be achieved by encouraging the escalation of problems, to make visible existing problems that until now have remained invisible. Asking more relevant and focused questions will also help your employees to think more deeply, and greatly assist them in solving their problems.

Share post

These posts might interest you