June 2021
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TD Magazine

5 Steps to Independent Problem Solving

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Relying on other people to fix your problems won't promote your growth. So, learn to strengthen your problem-solving skills.

1. Define the real issue.

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When confronted with a problem, identify its root cause for a more complete picture of the issue—often there's more to it than what meets the eye.

2. List all possible solutions.

When brainstorming solutions, list the pros and cons of each idea. Then use your list to identify the most feasible fixes.

3. Get feedback on your top fixes.

Talk with an experienced co-worker about the solutions you are weighing—they can help you envision your ideas' good and bad outcomes and share additional insight.

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4. Tell your manager what solution you are favoring.

If you lack complete confidence in your solution, discuss your thought process with your supervisor and ask whether your proposed fix is a good one.

5. Fix the problem first, then report the results.

Conversely, if you feel confident in your proposed fix, resolve the issue and then share the results with your manager during your standing meeting.

About the Author

Cheryl Stookes has 15-plus years in senior sales and operational leadership positions in Canada and the US with Amazon Web Services, SHI, Lenovo, and Softchoice. She has hired and developed hundreds of salespeople, led a significant multiyear company expansion, directed North American marketing initiatives through comprehensive partner programs and strategic marketing campaigns, and served as chief of staff for a global technology manufacturer. Her new book The Token Woman is available via Amazon.

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