Critical Problem-Solving - An Operational Survival Skill

As administrators, managers or directors of our career education institutions we no doubt are often involved in the problem-solving process as we face challenging

issues in our operations. Critical problem-solving is a managerial and operational  survival skill. Most of us are most likely familiar with the problem-solving steps: identify the problem, get the facts, identify possible solutions, weigh the pro’s and con’s of each one, select the best solution, implement and evaluate. To help with this process, I thought perhaps these additional pointers might be helpful:


·        When you are identifying the problem, make sure that you are also identifying the root of the problem.  Keep an open mind.  There may be more than one cause, or the problem may be totally different from what you first thought.  In fact, after examining the situation, what looks like a problem may not be one at all!

·        Even the best solutions won’t work if the resources are not available to implement them.  Do you have what you need to make the solution you have chosen work?

·        Just as there may be more than one cause to a problem, there may also be more than one solution.  Parts of different alternatives, combined together, can be an effective way to handle the challenge.

·        Evaluate the solution or solutions more than once after implementation.  The conditions surrounding a problem can change.  Did the solution work?  Is it still working?  Does it need to be modified?  Look at the big picture.  Can the solution solve more than one problem?  Does the solution to one problem cause another? 

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