Problem Solving

Learn from Experiences

Become more systematic and logical in your problem solving. Use this assessment to explore your current approach and use the results to identify new strategies to improve.

Albert Einstein once said, "If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it." Avoid making assumptions and jumping to solutions too quickly. The crucial first step is defining what the problem actually is – and isn’t. Use the “5 Whys” exercise to help you gain clarity and consider writing a formal problem statement.

Does the problem seem overwhelming or large? Use the problem solving process to divide the work into manageable steps. Making a series of smaller decisions will help you move forward without becoming overwhelmed.

Take 20 minutes to brainstorm a complex problem. Use this mind-mapping technique to organize your thinking.


Learn from Others

Avoid being too self-reliant when facing a problem. Access your network (at GW and elsewhere) to find someone who has faced a similar problem in the past and learn from their experience.

If you are having a hard time solving a problem, it may be time to prepare to escalate the issue. Use this Escalating Situations tool to help you engage in a productive conversation with your supervisor to get the help you need.

Host a brainstorming session with your team focused on a problem you need to solve. Use the Six Thinking Hats Technique to push you out of your comfort zone of vertical logic toward lateral thinking.