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Employability Skills: Identify and solve problems

What do you need to be able to solve problems?

In the workplace it's not always going to be smooth and easy. You are going to be encountering a lot of problems and roadblocks as you get deeper into your job and integrate with more people and groups in your workplace.

Problem solving skills play an important role in moving forward in tasks and projects assigned to you. 

 Visit the ECU CareerHub for more information, resources and support on career options and how to improve your problem solving skills.

Here's a breakdown of complex problem solving skills:

Identifying and outlining a problem

  • Identify and define complex problems
  • Understand the depth and nuances of problems and are able to recognise the subtleties. 
  • Ability to drill down to the root cause or greater issue of a problem. 

Create and apply a problem solving process

  • Ability to come up with strategies to solve the underlying problem at hand. 
  • Understanding and coming up with nuanced approaches tailored to the problem
  • Using creative and analytical techniques to come up with multiple solutions depending on factors of the problem

Monitoring and reviewing the outcomes

  • Using feedback and outcomes from the process to improve or adjust the plan to suit needs and objectives
  • Reflect on effectiveness of the solution in context. 

Here are some techniques that you can use to help you identify your problem. Depending on what type of problem you have you might want to use different techniques for your approach:

  • Describe your problem. Try writing down your problem narratively to yourself or try to explain it to someone else. 
  • Brainstorm your problem. Ask yourself "why is this a problem" and see if you come up with an objective or a new problem. 
  • If it is a decision between two choices try a Pro/Cons list. What are the pros and cons for both of your current solutions or options?
  • Set up SMART goals - If you're having trouble figuring out a plan try framing it so that it is SMART. 

Check out some examples of problem solving techniques here: