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7 Problem Solving Skills That Aren’t Just Buzzwords (+ Resume Example)

  • Julia Mlcuchova , 
  • Updated April 8, 2024 9 min read

Problem-solving skills are something everybody should include on their resume, yet only a few seem to understand what these skills actually are. If you've always felt that the term "problem-solving skills" is rather vague and wanted to know more, you've come to the right place.

In this article, we're going to explain what problem-solving skills really mean. We'll talk about what makes up good problem-solving skills and give you tips on how to get better at them. You'll also find out how to make your problem-solving abilities look more impressive to those who might want to hire you.

Sounds good, right? Curious to learn more? 

In this article we’ll show you:

  • What are problem solving skills;
  • Why are they important; 
  • Specific problem solving skills examples;
  • How to develop your problem solving skills;
  • And, how to showcase them on your resume.

Table of Contents

Click on a section to skip

What are problem solving skills?

Why are problem solving skills important, the best 7 problem solving skills examples, how to develop problem solving skills, problem solving skills resume example, key takeaways: problem solving skills.

First of all, they're more than just a buzzword!

Problem-solving skills are a set of specific abilities that allow you to deal with unexpected situations in the workplace, whether it be job related or team related. 

It's a complex process that involves several “sub skills” or “sub steps,” namely:

  • Recognizing and identifying the issue at hand.
  • Breaking the problem down into smaller parts and analyzing how they relate to one another. 
  • Creating potential solutions to the problem, evaluating them and picking the best one.  
  • Applying the chosen solution and assessing its outcome. 
  • Learning from the whole process to deal with future problems more effectively. 

As you can see, it's not just about solving problems that are right in front of us, but also about predicting potential issues and being prepared to deal with them before they arise.  

Despite what you may believe, problem-solving skills aren't just for managers . 

Think about it this way: Why do employers hire employees in the first place? To solve problems for them!

And, as we all know, problems don't discriminate. In other words, it doesn't matter whether you're just an intern, an entry-level professional, or a seasoned veteran, you'll constantly face some kind of challenges. And the only difference is in how complex they will get.

This is also reflected in the way employers assess suitability of potential job candidates. 

In fact, research shows that the ability to deal with unexpected complications is prioritized by an overwhelming 60% of employers across all industries, making it one of the most compelling skills on your resume.

So, regardless of your job description or your career level, you're always expected to find solutions for problems, either independently or as a part of a team. 

And that's precisely what makes problem-solving skills so invaluable and universal ! 

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As we've said before, problem-solving isn't really just one single skill. 

Instead, your ability to handle workplace issues with composure depends on several different “sub-skills”. 

So, which specific skills make an employee desirable even for the most demanding of recruiters? 

In no particular order, you should focus on these 7 skills : 

  • Analytical skills
  • Research skills
  • Critical thinking 
  • Decision-making
  • Collaboration
  • Having a growth mindset

Let's have a look at each of them in greater detail!

#1 Analytical skills

Firstly, to truly understand complex problems, you need to break them down into more manageable parts . Then, you observe them closely and ask yourself: “ Which parts work and which don't,” How do these parts contribute to the problem as a whole,” and "What exactly needs to be fixed?” In other words, you gather data , you study it, and compare it - all to pinpoint the cause of the issue as closely as possible.

#2 Research skills

Another priceless tool is your research skills (sometimes relying on just one source of information isn't enough). Besides, to make a truly informed decision , you'll have to dig a little deeper. Being a good researcher means looking for potential solutions to a problem in a wider context. For example: going through team reports, customer feedback, quarterly sales or current market trends.  

#3 Critical thinking

Every employer wants to hire people who can think critically. Yet, the ability to evaluate situations objectively and from different perspectives , is actually pretty hard to come by. But as long as you stay open-minded, inquisitive, and with a healthy dose of skepticism, you'll be able to assess situations based on facts and evidence more successfully. Plus, critical thinking comes in especially handy when you need to examine your own actions and processes. 

 #4 Creativity

Instead of following the old established processes that don't work anymore, you should feel comfortable thinking outside the box. The thing is, problems have a nasty habit of popping up unexpectedly and rapidly. And sometimes, you have to get creative in order to solve them fast. Especially those that have no precedence. But this requires a blend of intuition, industry knowledge, and quick thinking - a truly rare combination. 

#5 Decision-making

The analysis, research, and brainstorming are done. Now, you need to look at the possible solutions, and make the final decision (informed, of course). And not only that, you also have to stand by it ! Because once the train gets moving, there's no room for second guessing. Also, keep in mind that you need to be prepared to take responsibility for all decisions you make. That's no small feat! 

#6 Collaboration

Not every problem you encounter can be solved by yourself alone. And this is especially true when it comes to complex projects. So, being able to actively listen to your colleagues, take their ideas into account, and being respectful of their opinions enables you to solve problems together. Because every individual can offer a unique perspective and skill set. Yes, democracy is hard, but at the end of the day, it's teamwork that makes the corporate world go round. 

#7 Having a growth mindset

Let's be honest, no one wants their work to be riddled with problems. But facing constant challenges and changes is inevitable. And that can be scary! However, when you're able to see these situations as opportunities to grow instead of issues that hold you back, your problem solving skills reach new heights. And the employers know that too!

Now that we've shown you the value problem-solving skills can add to your resume, let's ask the all-important question: “How can I learn them?”

Well…you can't. At least not in the traditional sense of the word. 

Let us explain: Since problem-solving skills fall under the umbrella of soft skills , they can't be taught through formal education, unlike computer skills for example. There's no university course that you can take and graduate as a professional problem solver. 

But, just like other interpersonal skills, they can be nurtured and refined over time through practice and experience. 

Unfortunately, there's no one-size-fits-all approach, but the following tips can offer you inspiration on how to improve your problem solving skills:

  • Cultivate a growth mindset. Remember what we've said before? Your attitude towards obstacles is the first step to unlocking your problem-solving potential. 
  • Gain further knowledge in your specialized field. Secondly, it's a good idea to delve a little deeper into your chosen profession. Because the more you read on a subject, the easier it becomes to spot certain patterns and relations.  
  • Start with small steps. Don't attack the big questions straight away — you'll only set yourself up for failure. Instead, start with more straightforward tasks and work your way up to more complex problems. 
  • Break problems down into more digestible pieces. Complex issues are made up of smaller problems. And those can be further divided into even smaller problems, and so on. Until you're left with only the basics. 
  • Don't settle for a single solution. Instead, keep on exploring other possible answers.
  • Accept failure as a part of the learning process. Finally, don't let your failures discourage you. After all, you're bound to misstep a couple of times before you find your footing. Just keep on practicing. 

How to improve problem solving skills with online courses

While it’s true that formal education won’t turn you into a master problem solver, you can still hone your skills with courses and certifications offered by online learning platforms :

  • Analytical skills. You can sharpen your analytical skills with Data Analytics Basics for Everyone from IBM provided by edX (Free); or Decision Making and Analytical Thinking: Fortune 500 provided by Udemy ($21,74).
  • Creativity. And, to unlock your inner creative mind, you can try Creative Thinking: Techniques and Tools for Success from the Imperial College London provided by Coursera (Free).
  • Critical thinking. Try Introduction to Logic and Critical Thinking Specialization from Duke University provided by Coursera (Free); or Logical and Critical Thinking offered by The University of Auckland via FutureLearn.  
  • Decision-making. Or, you can learn how to become more confident when it's time to make a decision with Decision-Making Strategies and Executive Decision-Making both offered by LinkedIn Learning (1 month free trial).
  • Communication skills . Lastly, to improve your collaborative skills, check out Communicating for Influence and Impact online at University of Cambridge. 

The fact that everybody and their grandmothers put “ problem-solving skills ” on their CVs has turned the phrase into a cliche. 

But there's a way to incorporate these skills into your resume without sounding pretentious and empty. Below, we've prepared a mock-up resume that manages to do just that.

FYI, if you like this design, you can use the template to create your very own resume. Just click the red button and fill in your information (or let the AI do it for you).

Problem solving skills on resume example

This resume was written by our experienced resume writers specifically for this profession.

Why this example works?

  • Firstly, the job description itself is neatly organized into bullet points .  
  • Instead of simply listing soft skills in a skills section , you can incorporate them into the description of your work experience entry.  
  • Also, the language here isn't vague . This resume puts each problem-solving skill into a real-life context by detailing specific situations and obstacles. 
  • And, to highlight the impact of each skill on your previous job position, we recommend quantifying your results whenever possible. 
  • Finally, starting each bullet point with an action verb (in bold) makes you look more dynamic and proactive.

To sum it all up, problem-solving skills continue gaining popularity among employers and employees alike. And for a good reason!

Because of them, you can overcome any obstacles that stand in the way of your professional life more efficiently and systematically. 

In essence, problem-solving skills refer to the ability to recognize a challenge, identify its root cause, think of possible solutions , and then implement the most effective one. 

Believing that these skills are all the same would be a serious misconception. In reality, this term encompasses a variety of different abilities , including:

In short, understanding, developing, and showcasing these skills, can greatly boost your chances at getting noticed by the hiring managers. So, don't hesitate and start working on your problem-solving skills right now!

Julia has recently joined Kickresume as a career writer. From helping people with their English to get admitted to the uni of their dreams to advising them on how to succeed in the job market. It would seem that her career is on a steadfast trajectory. Julia holds a degree in Anglophone studies from Metropolitan University in Prague, where she also resides. Apart from creative writing and languages, she takes a keen interest in literature and theatre.

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A guide to problem-solving techniques, steps, and skills

other skills like problem solving

You might associate problem-solving with the math exercises that a seven-year-old would do at school. But problem-solving isn’t just about math — it’s a crucial skill that helps everyone make better decisions in everyday life or work.

A guide to problem-solving techniques, steps, and skills

Problem-solving involves finding effective solutions to address complex challenges, in any context they may arise.

Unfortunately, structured and systematic problem-solving methods aren’t commonly taught. Instead, when solving a problem, PMs tend to rely heavily on intuition. While for simple issues this might work well, solving a complex problem with a straightforward solution is often ineffective and can even create more problems.

In this article, you’ll learn a framework for approaching problem-solving, alongside how you can improve your problem-solving skills.

The 7 steps to problem-solving

When it comes to problem-solving there are seven key steps that you should follow: define the problem, disaggregate, prioritize problem branches, create an analysis plan, conduct analysis, synthesis, and communication.

1. Define the problem

Problem-solving begins with a clear understanding of the issue at hand. Without a well-defined problem statement, confusion and misunderstandings can hinder progress. It’s crucial to ensure that the problem statement is outcome-focused, specific, measurable whenever possible, and time-bound.

Additionally, aligning the problem definition with relevant stakeholders and decision-makers is essential to ensure efforts are directed towards addressing the actual problem rather than side issues.

2. Disaggregate

Complex issues often require deeper analysis. Instead of tackling the entire problem at once, the next step is to break it down into smaller, more manageable components.

Various types of logic trees (also known as issue trees or decision trees) can be used to break down the problem. At each stage where new branches are created, it’s important for them to be “MECE” – mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive. This process of breaking down continues until manageable components are identified, allowing for individual examination.

The decomposition of the problem demands looking at the problem from various perspectives. That is why collaboration within a team often yields more valuable results, as diverse viewpoints lead to a richer pool of ideas and solutions.

3. Prioritize problem branches

The next step involves prioritization. Not all branches of the problem tree have the same impact, so it’s important to understand the significance of each and focus attention on the most impactful areas. Prioritizing helps streamline efforts and minimize the time required to solve the problem.

other skills like problem solving

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other skills like problem solving

4. Create an analysis plan

For prioritized components, you may need to conduct in-depth analysis. Before proceeding, a work plan is created for data gathering and analysis. If work is conducted within a team, having a plan provides guidance on what needs to be achieved, who is responsible for which tasks, and the timelines involved.

5. Conduct analysis

Data gathering and analysis are central to the problem-solving process. It’s a good practice to set time limits for this phase to prevent excessive time spent on perfecting details. You can employ heuristics and rule-of-thumb reasoning to improve efficiency and direct efforts towards the most impactful work.

6. Synthesis

After each individual branch component has been researched, the problem isn’t solved yet. The next step is synthesizing the data logically to address the initial question. The synthesis process and the logical relationship between the individual branch results depend on the logic tree used.

7. Communication

The last step is communicating the story and the solution of the problem to the stakeholders and decision-makers. Clear effective communication is necessary to build trust in the solution and facilitates understanding among all parties involved. It ensures that stakeholders grasp the intricacies of the problem and the proposed solution, leading to informed decision-making.

Exploring problem-solving in various contexts

While problem-solving has traditionally been associated with fields like engineering and science, today it has become a fundamental skill for individuals across all professions. In fact, problem-solving consistently ranks as one of the top skills required by employers.

Problem-solving techniques can be applied in diverse contexts:

  • Individuals — What career path should I choose? Where should I live? These are examples of simple and common personal challenges that require effective problem-solving skills
  • Organizations — Businesses also face many decisions that are not trivial to answer. Should we expand into new markets this year? How can we enhance the quality of our product development? Will our office accommodate the upcoming year’s growth in terms of capacity?
  • Societal issues — The biggest world challenges are also complex problems that can be addressed with the same technique. How can we minimize the impact of climate change? How do we fight cancer?

Despite the variation in domains and contexts, the fundamental approach to solving these questions remains the same. It starts with gaining a clear understanding of the problem, followed by decomposition, conducting analysis of the decomposed branches, and synthesizing it into a result that answers the initial problem.

Real-world examples of problem-solving

Let’s now explore some examples where we can apply the problem solving framework.

Problem: In the production of electronic devices, you observe an increasing number of defects. How can you reduce the error rate and improve the quality?

Electric Devices

Before delving into analysis, you can deprioritize branches that you already have information for or ones you deem less important. For instance, while transportation delays may occur, the resulting material degradation is likely negligible. For other branches, additional research and data gathering may be necessary.

Once results are obtained, synthesis is crucial to address the core question: How can you decrease the defect rate?

While all factors listed may play a role, their significance varies. Your task is to prioritize effectively. Through data analysis, you may discover that altering the equipment would bring the most substantial positive outcome. However, executing a solution isn’t always straightforward. In prioritizing, you should consider both the potential impact and the level of effort needed for implementation.

By evaluating impact and effort, you can systematically prioritize areas for improvement, focusing on those with high impact and requiring minimal effort to address. This approach ensures efficient allocation of resources towards improvements that offer the greatest return on investment.

Problem : What should be my next job role?

Next Job

When breaking down this problem, you need to consider various factors that are important for your future happiness in the role. This includes aspects like the company culture, our interest in the work itself, and the lifestyle that you can afford with the role.

However, not all factors carry the same weight for us. To make sense of the results, we can assign a weight factor to each branch. For instance, passion for the job role may have a weight factor of 1, while interest in the industry may have a weight factor of 0.5, because that is less important for you.

By applying these weights to a specific role and summing the values, you can have an estimate of how suitable that role is for you. Moreover, you can compare two roles and make an informed decision based on these weighted indicators.

Key problem-solving skills

This framework provides the foundation and guidance needed to effectively solve problems. However, successfully applying this framework requires the following:

  • Creativity — During the decomposition phase, it’s essential to approach the problem from various perspectives and think outside the box to generate innovative ideas for breaking down the problem tree
  • Decision-making — Throughout the process, decisions must be made, even when full confidence is lacking. Employing rules of thumb to simplify analysis or selecting one tree cut over another requires decisiveness and comfort with choices made
  • Analytical skills — Analytical and research skills are necessary for the phase following decomposition, involving data gathering and analysis on selected tree branches
  • Teamwork — Collaboration and teamwork are crucial when working within a team setting. Solving problems effectively often requires collective effort and shared responsibility
  • Communication — Clear and structured communication is essential to convey the problem solution to stakeholders and decision-makers and build trust

How to enhance your problem-solving skills

Problem-solving requires practice and a certain mindset. The more you practice, the easier it becomes. Here are some strategies to enhance your skills:

  • Practice structured thinking in your daily life — Break down problems or questions into manageable parts. You don’t need to go through the entire problem-solving process and conduct detailed analysis. When conveying a message, simplify the conversation by breaking the message into smaller, more understandable segments
  • Regularly challenging yourself with games and puzzles — Solving puzzles, riddles, or strategy games can boost your problem-solving skills and cognitive agility.
  • Engage with individuals from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints — Conversing with people who offer different perspectives provides fresh insights and alternative solutions to problems. This boosts creativity and helps in approaching challenges from new angles

Final thoughts

Problem-solving extends far beyond mathematics or scientific fields; it’s a critical skill for making informed decisions in every area of life and work. The seven-step framework presented here provides a systematic approach to problem-solving, relevant across various domains.

Now, consider this: What’s one question currently on your mind? Grab a piece of paper and try to apply the problem-solving framework. You might uncover fresh insights you hadn’t considered before.

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What Are Problem-Solving Skills? (Examples Included)

Mike Simpson 0 Comments

other skills like problem solving

By Mike Simpson

Problem-solving skills are important not just for work. In the words of Karl Popper , “All life is problem-solving.”

What on earth does that mean? Simply that being alive means facing challenges. With problem-solving skills, you can navigate issues with greater ease, making hard times, well, less hard.

But what are problem-solving skills? How do you know if you have them or not? Why do they matter to your job search? And what should you do if you don’t feel yours are up to snuff? Luckily, we’re about to get into all of that.

If you’re curious about the world of problem-solving skills, here’s what you need to know.

What Are Problem-Solving Skills?

Before we dig into any examples, let’s focus first on an important question: what are problem-solving skills.

To answer that question, let’s start with the barebones basics. According to Merriam-Webster , problem-solving is “the process or act of finding a solution to a problem.” Why does that matter? Well, because it gives you insight into what problem-solving skills are.

Any skill that helps you find solutions to problems can qualify. And that means problem-solving skills aren’t just one capability, but a toolbox filled with soft skills and hard skills that come together during your time of need.

The ability to solve problems is relevant to any part of your life. Whether your writing a grocery list or dealing with a car that won’t start, you’re actually problem-solving.

The same is true at work, too. Most tasks actually involve a degree of problem-solving. Really? Really.

Think about it this way; when you’re given an assignment, you’re being asked, “Can you do this thing?” Doing that thing is the problem.

Then, you have to find a path that lets you accomplish what you need to do. That is problem-solving.

Yes, sometimes what you need to handle isn’t “challenging” in the difficulty sense. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t count.

Besides, some of what you need to do will legitimately be hard. Maybe you’re given a new responsibility, or something goes wrong during a project. When that happens, you’ll have to navigate unfamiliar territory, gather new information, and think outside of the box. That’s problem-solving, too.

That’s why hiring managers favor candidates with problem-solving skills. They make you more effective in your role, increasing the odds that you can find solutions whenever the need arises.

How Are Problem-Solving Skills Relevant to a Job Search?

Alright, you probably have a good idea of what problem-solving skills are. Now, it’s time to talk about why they matter to your job search.

We’ve already touched on one major point: hiring managers prefer candidates with strong problem-solving skills. That alone makes these capabilities a relevant part of the equation. If you don’t show the hiring manager you’ve got what it takes to excel, you may struggle to land a position.

But that isn’t the only reason these skills matter. Problem-solving skills can help you during the entire job search process. After all, what’s a job search but a problem – or a series of problems – that needs an answer.

You need a new job; that’s the core problem you’re solving. But every step is its own unique challenge. Finding an opening that matches your skills, creating a resume that resonates with the hiring manager, nailing the interview, and negotiating a salary … those are all smaller problems that are part of the bigger one.

So, problem-solving skills really are at the core of the job search experience. By having strong capabilities in this area, you may find a new position faster than you’d expect.

Okay, you may be thinking, “If hiring managers prefer candidates with problem-solving skills, which ones are they after? Are certain problem-solving capabilities more important today? Is there something I should be going out of my way to showcase?”

While any related skills are worth highlighting, some may get you further than others. Analysis, research, creativity, collaboration , organization, and decision-making are all biggies. With those skills, you can work through the entire problem-solving process, making them worthwhile additions to your resume.

But that doesn’t mean you have to focus there solely. Don’t shy away from showcasing everything you bring to the table. That way, if a particular hiring manager is looking for a certain capability, you’re more likely to tap on what they’re after.

How to Highlight Problem-Solving Skills for Job Search

At this point, it’s ridiculously clear that problem-solving skills are valuable in the eyes of hiring managers. So, how do you show them that you’ve got all of the capabilities they are after? By using the right approach.

When you’re writing your resume or cover letter , your best bet is to highlight achievements that let you put your problem-solving skills to work. That way, you can “show” the hiring manager you have what it takes.

Showing is always better than telling. Anyone can write down, “I have awesome problem-solving skills.” The thing is, that doesn’t really prove that you do. With a great example, you offer up some context, and that makes a difference.

How do you decide on which skills to highlight on your resume or cover letter? By having a great strategy. With the Tailoring Method , it’s all about relevancy. The technique helps you identify skills that matter to that particular hiring manager, allowing you to speak directly to their needs.

Plus, you can use the Tailoring Method when you answer job interview questions . With that approach, you’re making sure those responses are on-point, too.

But when do you talk about your problem-solving capabilities during an interview? Well, there’s a good chance you’ll get asked problem-solving interview questions during your meeting. Take a look at those to see the kinds of questions that are perfect for mentioning these skills.

However, you don’t have to stop there. If you’re asked about your greatest achievement or your strengths, those could be opportunities, too. Nearly any open-ended question could be the right time to discuss those skills, so keep that in mind as you practice for your interview.

How to Develop Problem-Solving Skills If You Don’t Have Them

Developing problem-solving skills may seem a bit tricky on the surface, especially if you think you don’t have them. The thing is, it doesn’t actually have to be hard. You simply need to use the right strategy.

First, understand that you probably do have problem-solving skills; you simply may not have realized it. After all, life is full of challenges that you have to tackle, so there’s a good chance you’ve developed some abilities along the way.

Now, let’s reframe the question and focus on how to improve your problem-solving skills. Here’s how to go about it.

Understand the Problem-Solving Process

In many cases, problem-solving is all about the process. You:

  • Identify the problem
  • Analyze the key elements
  • Look for potential solutions
  • Examine the options for viability and risk
  • Decide on an approach
  • Review the outcome for lessons

By understanding the core process, you can apply it more effectively. That way, when you encounter an issue, you’ll know how to approach it, increasing the odds you’ll handle the situation effectively.

Try Puzzles and Games

Any activity that lets you take the steps listed above could help you hone your problem-solving skills. For example, brainteasers, puzzles, and logic-based games can be great places to start.

Whether it’s something as straightforward – but nonetheless challenging – as Sudoku or a Rubik’s Cube, or something as complex as Settlers of Catan, it puts your problem-solving skills to work. Plus, if you enjoy the activity, it makes skill-building fun, making it a win-win.

Look for Daily Opportunities

If you’re looking for a practical approach, you’re in luck. You can also look at the various challenges you face during the day and think about how to overcome them.

For example, if you always experience a mid-day energy slump that hurts your productivity, take a deep dive into that problem. Define what’s happening, think about why it occurs, consider various solutions, pick one to try, and analyze the results.

By using the problem-solving approach more often in your life, you’ll develop those skills further and make using these capabilities a habit. Plus, you may find ways to improve your day-to-day living, which is a nice bonus.

Volunteer for “Stretch” Projects

If you’re currently employed, volunteering for projects that push you slightly outside of your comfort zone can help you develop problem-solving skills, too. You’ll encounter the unknown and have to think outside of the box, both of which can boost critical problem-solving-related skills.

Plus, you may gain other capabilities along the way, like experience with new technologies or tools. That makes the project an even bigger career booster, which is pretty awesome.

List of Problem-Solving Skills

Alright, we’ve taken a pretty deep dive into what problem-solving skills are. Now, it’s time for some problem-solving skills examples.

As we mentioned above, there are a ton of capabilities and traits that can support better problem-solving. By understanding what they are, you can showcase the right abilities during your job search.

So, without further ado, here is a quick list of problem-solving skill examples:

  • Collaboration
  • Organization
  • Decision-Making
  • Troubleshooting
  • Self-Reliance
  • Self-Motivation
  • Communication
  • Attention to Detail
  • Brainstorming
  • Forecasting
  • Active Listening
  • Accountability
  • Open-Mindedness
  • Critical Thinking
  • Flexibility

Do you have to showcase all of those skills during your job search individually? No, not necessarily. Instead, you want to highlight a range of capabilities based on what the hiring manager is after. If you’re using the Tailoring Method, you’ll know which ones need to make their way into your resume, cover letter, and interview answers.

Now, are there other skills that support problem-solving? Yes, there certainly can be.

Essentially any skill that helps you go from the problem to the solution can, in its own right, be a problem-solving skill.

All of the skills above can be part of the equation. But, if you have another capability that helps you flourish when you encounter an obstacle, it can count, too.

Reflect on your past experience and consider how you’ve navigated challenges in the past. If a particular skill helped you do that, then it’s worth highlighting during a job search.

If you would like to find out more about skills to put on a resume , we’ve taken a close look at the topic before. Along with problem-solving skills, we dig into a variety of other areas, helping you choose what to highlight so that you can increase your odds of landing your perfect job.

Putting It All Together

Ultimately, problem-solving skills are essential for professionals in any kind of field. By honing your capabilities and showcasing them during your job search, you can become a stronger candidate and employee. In the end, that’s all good stuff, making it easier for you to keep your career on track today, tomorrow, and well into the future.

other skills like problem solving

Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com.

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Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com. His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes , Entrepreneur , CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan , Penn State , Northeastern and others. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page .

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Problem-Solving Strategies and Obstacles

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

other skills like problem solving

Sean is a fact-checker and researcher with experience in sociology, field research, and data analytics.

other skills like problem solving

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From deciding what to eat for dinner to considering whether it's the right time to buy a house, problem-solving is a large part of our daily lives. Learn some of the problem-solving strategies that exist and how to use them in real life, along with ways to overcome obstacles that are making it harder to resolve the issues you face.

What Is Problem-Solving?

In cognitive psychology , the term 'problem-solving' refers to the mental process that people go through to discover, analyze, and solve problems.

A problem exists when there is a goal that we want to achieve but the process by which we will achieve it is not obvious to us. Put another way, there is something that we want to occur in our life, yet we are not immediately certain how to make it happen.

Maybe you want a better relationship with your spouse or another family member but you're not sure how to improve it. Or you want to start a business but are unsure what steps to take. Problem-solving helps you figure out how to achieve these desires.

The problem-solving process involves:

  • Discovery of the problem
  • Deciding to tackle the issue
  • Seeking to understand the problem more fully
  • Researching available options or solutions
  • Taking action to resolve the issue

Before problem-solving can occur, it is important to first understand the exact nature of the problem itself. If your understanding of the issue is faulty, your attempts to resolve it will also be incorrect or flawed.

Problem-Solving Mental Processes

Several mental processes are at work during problem-solving. Among them are:

  • Perceptually recognizing the problem
  • Representing the problem in memory
  • Considering relevant information that applies to the problem
  • Identifying different aspects of the problem
  • Labeling and describing the problem

Problem-Solving Strategies

There are many ways to go about solving a problem. Some of these strategies might be used on their own, or you may decide to employ multiple approaches when working to figure out and fix a problem.

An algorithm is a step-by-step procedure that, by following certain "rules" produces a solution. Algorithms are commonly used in mathematics to solve division or multiplication problems. But they can be used in other fields as well.

In psychology, algorithms can be used to help identify individuals with a greater risk of mental health issues. For instance, research suggests that certain algorithms might help us recognize children with an elevated risk of suicide or self-harm.

One benefit of algorithms is that they guarantee an accurate answer. However, they aren't always the best approach to problem-solving, in part because detecting patterns can be incredibly time-consuming.

There are also concerns when machine learning is involved—also known as artificial intelligence (AI)—such as whether they can accurately predict human behaviors.

Heuristics are shortcut strategies that people can use to solve a problem at hand. These "rule of thumb" approaches allow you to simplify complex problems, reducing the total number of possible solutions to a more manageable set.

If you find yourself sitting in a traffic jam, for example, you may quickly consider other routes, taking one to get moving once again. When shopping for a new car, you might think back to a prior experience when negotiating got you a lower price, then employ the same tactics.

While heuristics may be helpful when facing smaller issues, major decisions shouldn't necessarily be made using a shortcut approach. Heuristics also don't guarantee an effective solution, such as when trying to drive around a traffic jam only to find yourself on an equally crowded route.

Trial and Error

A trial-and-error approach to problem-solving involves trying a number of potential solutions to a particular issue, then ruling out those that do not work. If you're not sure whether to buy a shirt in blue or green, for instance, you may try on each before deciding which one to purchase.

This can be a good strategy to use if you have a limited number of solutions available. But if there are many different choices available, narrowing down the possible options using another problem-solving technique can be helpful before attempting trial and error.

In some cases, the solution to a problem can appear as a sudden insight. You are facing an issue in a relationship or your career when, out of nowhere, the solution appears in your mind and you know exactly what to do.

Insight can occur when the problem in front of you is similar to an issue that you've dealt with in the past. Although, you may not recognize what is occurring since the underlying mental processes that lead to insight often happen outside of conscious awareness .

Research indicates that insight is most likely to occur during times when you are alone—such as when going on a walk by yourself, when you're in the shower, or when lying in bed after waking up.

How to Apply Problem-Solving Strategies in Real Life

If you're facing a problem, you can implement one or more of these strategies to find a potential solution. Here's how to use them in real life:

  • Create a flow chart . If you have time, you can take advantage of the algorithm approach to problem-solving by sitting down and making a flow chart of each potential solution, its consequences, and what happens next.
  • Recall your past experiences . When a problem needs to be solved fairly quickly, heuristics may be a better approach. Think back to when you faced a similar issue, then use your knowledge and experience to choose the best option possible.
  • Start trying potential solutions . If your options are limited, start trying them one by one to see which solution is best for achieving your desired goal. If a particular solution doesn't work, move on to the next.
  • Take some time alone . Since insight is often achieved when you're alone, carve out time to be by yourself for a while. The answer to your problem may come to you, seemingly out of the blue, if you spend some time away from others.

Obstacles to Problem-Solving

Problem-solving is not a flawless process as there are a number of obstacles that can interfere with our ability to solve a problem quickly and efficiently. These obstacles include:

  • Assumptions: When dealing with a problem, people can make assumptions about the constraints and obstacles that prevent certain solutions. Thus, they may not even try some potential options.
  • Functional fixedness : This term refers to the tendency to view problems only in their customary manner. Functional fixedness prevents people from fully seeing all of the different options that might be available to find a solution.
  • Irrelevant or misleading information: When trying to solve a problem, it's important to distinguish between information that is relevant to the issue and irrelevant data that can lead to faulty solutions. The more complex the problem, the easier it is to focus on misleading or irrelevant information.
  • Mental set: A mental set is a tendency to only use solutions that have worked in the past rather than looking for alternative ideas. A mental set can work as a heuristic, making it a useful problem-solving tool. However, mental sets can also lead to inflexibility, making it more difficult to find effective solutions.

How to Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills

In the end, if your goal is to become a better problem-solver, it's helpful to remember that this is a process. Thus, if you want to improve your problem-solving skills, following these steps can help lead you to your solution:

  • Recognize that a problem exists . If you are facing a problem, there are generally signs. For instance, if you have a mental illness , you may experience excessive fear or sadness, mood changes, and changes in sleeping or eating habits. Recognizing these signs can help you realize that an issue exists.
  • Decide to solve the problem . Make a conscious decision to solve the issue at hand. Commit to yourself that you will go through the steps necessary to find a solution.
  • Seek to fully understand the issue . Analyze the problem you face, looking at it from all sides. If your problem is relationship-related, for instance, ask yourself how the other person may be interpreting the issue. You might also consider how your actions might be contributing to the situation.
  • Research potential options . Using the problem-solving strategies mentioned, research potential solutions. Make a list of options, then consider each one individually. What are some pros and cons of taking the available routes? What would you need to do to make them happen?
  • Take action . Select the best solution possible and take action. Action is one of the steps required for change . So, go through the motions needed to resolve the issue.
  • Try another option, if needed . If the solution you chose didn't work, don't give up. Either go through the problem-solving process again or simply try another option.

You can find a way to solve your problems as long as you keep working toward this goal—even if the best solution is simply to let go because no other good solution exists.

Sarathy V. Real world problem-solving .  Front Hum Neurosci . 2018;12:261. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2018.00261

Dunbar K. Problem solving . A Companion to Cognitive Science . 2017. doi:10.1002/9781405164535.ch20

Stewart SL, Celebre A, Hirdes JP, Poss JW. Risk of suicide and self-harm in kids: The development of an algorithm to identify high-risk individuals within the children's mental health system . Child Psychiat Human Develop . 2020;51:913-924. doi:10.1007/s10578-020-00968-9

Rosenbusch H, Soldner F, Evans AM, Zeelenberg M. Supervised machine learning methods in psychology: A practical introduction with annotated R code . Soc Personal Psychol Compass . 2021;15(2):e12579. doi:10.1111/spc3.12579

Mishra S. Decision-making under risk: Integrating perspectives from biology, economics, and psychology . Personal Soc Psychol Rev . 2014;18(3):280-307. doi:10.1177/1088868314530517

Csikszentmihalyi M, Sawyer K. Creative insight: The social dimension of a solitary moment . In: The Systems Model of Creativity . 2015:73-98. doi:10.1007/978-94-017-9085-7_7

Chrysikou EG, Motyka K, Nigro C, Yang SI, Thompson-Schill SL. Functional fixedness in creative thinking tasks depends on stimulus modality .  Psychol Aesthet Creat Arts . 2016;10(4):425‐435. doi:10.1037/aca0000050

Huang F, Tang S, Hu Z. Unconditional perseveration of the short-term mental set in chunk decomposition .  Front Psychol . 2018;9:2568. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02568

National Alliance on Mental Illness. Warning signs and symptoms .

Mayer RE. Thinking, problem solving, cognition, 2nd ed .

Schooler JW, Ohlsson S, Brooks K. Thoughts beyond words: When language overshadows insight. J Experiment Psychol: General . 1993;122:166-183. doi:10.1037/0096-3445.2.166

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

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Everybody can benefit from having good problem solving skills as we all encounter problems on a daily basis. Some of these problems are obviously more severe or complex than others.

It would be wonderful to have the ability to solve all problems efficiently and in a timely fashion without difficulty, unfortunately though there is no one way in which all problems can be solved.

You will discover, as you read through our pages on problem solving, that the subject is complex.

However well prepared we are for problem solving, there is always an element of the unknown. Although planning and structuring will help make the problem solving process more likely to be successful, good judgement and an element of good luck will ultimately determine whether problem solving was a success.

Interpersonal relationships fail and businesses fail because of poor problem solving.

This is often due to either problems not being recognised or being recognised but not being dealt with appropriately.

Problem solving skills are highly sought after by employers as many companies rely on their employees to identify and solve problems.

A lot of the work in problem solving involves understanding what the underlying issues of the problem really are - not the symptoms. Dealing with a customer complaint may be seen as a problem that needs to be solved, and it's almost certainly a good idea to do so. The employee dealing with the complaint should be asking what has caused the customer to complain in the first place, if the cause of the complaint can be eliminated then the problem is solved.

In order to be effective at problem solving you are likely to need some other key skills, which include:

Creativity. Problems are usually solved either intuitively or systematically. Intuition is used when no new knowledge is needed - you know enough to be able to make a quick decision and solve the problem, or you use common sense or experience to solve the problem. More complex problems or problems that you have not experienced before will likely require a more systematic and logical approach to solve, and for these you will need to use creative thinking. See our page on Creative Thinking for more information.

Researching Skills. Defining and solving problems often requires you to do some research: this may be a simple Google search or a more rigorous research project. See our Research Methods section for ideas on how to conduct effective research.

Team Working. Many problems are best defined and solved with the input of other people. Team working may sound like a 'work thing' but it is just as important at home and school as well as in the workplace. See our Team-Working page for more.

Emotional Intelligence. It is worth considering the impact that a problem and/or its solution has on you and other people. Emotional intelligence, the ability to recognise the emotions of yourself and others, will help guide you to an appropriate solution. See our Emotional Intelligence pages for more.

Risk Management. Solving a problem involves a certain amount of risk - this risk needs to be weighed up against not solving the problem. You may find our Risk Management page useful.

Decision Making . Problem solving and decision making are closely related skills, and making a decision is an important part of the problem solving process as you will often be faced with various options and alternatives. See Decision Making for more.

The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year.

John Foster Dulles, Former US Secretary of State.

What is a Problem?

The Concise Oxford Dictionary (1995) defines a problem as:

“ A doubtful or difficult matter requiring a solution ”
“ Something hard to understand or accomplish or deal with.”

It is worth also considering our own view of what a problem is.

We are constantly exposed to opportunities in life, at work, at school and at home. However many opportunities are missed or not taken full advantage of. Often we are unsure how to take advantage of an opportunity and create barriers - reasons why we can't take advantage. These barriers can turn a potentially positive situation into a negative one, a problem.

Are we missing the 'big problem'? It is human nature to notice and focus on small, easy to solve problems but much harder to work on the big problems that may be causing some of the smaller ones.

It's useful to consider the following questions when faced with a problem.

Is the problem real or perceived?

Is this problem really an opportunity?

Does the problem need solving?

All problems have two features in common: goals and barriers.

Problems involve setting out to achieve some objective or desired state of affairs and can include avoiding a situation or event.

Goals can be anything that you wish to achieve, or where you want to be. If you are hungry then your goal is probably to eat something. If you are the head of an organisation (CEO), then your main goal may be to maximise profits and this main goal may need to be split into numerous sub-goals in order to fulfil the ultimate aim of increasing profits.

If there were no barriers in the way of achieving a goal, then there would be no problem. Problem solving involves overcoming the barriers or obstacles that prevent the immediate achievement of goals.

Following our examples above, if you feel hungry then your goal is to eat. A barrier to this may be that you have no food available - so you take a trip to the supermarket and buy some food, removing the barrier and thus solving the problem. Of course for the CEO wanting to increase profits there may be many more barriers preventing the goal from being reached. The CEO needs to attempt to recognise these barriers and remove them or find other ways to achieve the goals of the organisation.

Our problem solving pages provide a simple and structured approach to problem solving.

The approach referred to is generally designed for problem solving in an organisation or group context, but can also be easily adapted to work at an individual level at home or in education.

Trying to solve a complex problem alone however can be a mistake. The old adage " A problem shared is a problem halved " is sound advice.

Talking to others about problems is not only therapeutic but can help you see things from a different point of view, opening up more potential solutions.

Stages of Problem Solving

Effective problem solving usually involves working through a number of steps or stages, such as those outlined below.

Problem Identification:

This stage involves: detecting and recognising that there is a problem; identifying the nature of the problem; defining the problem.

The first phase of problem solving may sound obvious but often requires more thought and analysis. Identifying a problem can be a difficult task in itself. Is there a problem at all? What is the nature of the problem, are there in fact numerous problems? How can the problem be best defined? By spending some time defining the problem you will not only understand it more clearly yourself but be able to communicate its nature to others, which leads to the second phase.

Structuring the Problem:

This stage involves: a period of observation, careful inspection, fact-finding and developing a clear picture of the problem.

Following on from problem identification, structuring the problem is all about gaining more information about the problem and increasing understanding. This phase is all about fact finding and analysis, building a more comprehensive picture of both the goal(s) and the barrier(s). This stage may not be necessary for very simple problems but is essential for problems of a more complex nature.

Looking for Possible Solutions:

During this stage you will generate a range of possible courses of action, but with little attempt to evaluate them at this stage.

From the information gathered in the first two phases of the problem solving framework it is now time to start thinking about possible solutions to the identified problem. In a group situation this stage is often carried out as a brain-storming session, letting each person in the group express their views on possible solutions (or part solutions). In organisations different people will have different expertise in different areas and it is useful, therefore, to hear the views of each concerned party.

Making a Decision:

This stage involves careful analysis of the different possible courses of action and then selecting the best solution for implementation.

This is perhaps the most complex part of the problem solving process. Following on from the previous step it is now time to look at each potential solution and carefully analyse it. Some solutions may not be possible, due to other problems like time constraints or budgets. It is important at this stage to also consider what might happen if nothing was done to solve the problem - sometimes trying to solve a problem that leads to many more problems requires some very creative thinking and innovative ideas.

Finally, make a decision on which course of action to take - decision making is an important skill in itself and we recommend that you see our pages on decision making .

Implementation:

This stage involves accepting and carrying out the chosen course of action.

Implementation means acting on the chosen solution. During implementation more problems may arise especially if identification or structuring of the original problem was not carried out fully.

Monitoring/Seeking Feedback:

The last stage is about reviewing the outcomes of problem solving over a period of time, including seeking feedback as to the success of the outcomes of the chosen solution.

The final stage of problem solving is concerned with checking that the process was successful. This can be achieved by monitoring and gaining feedback from people affected by any changes that occurred. It is good practice to keep a record of outcomes and any additional problems that occurred.

Continue to: Identifying and Structuring Problems Social Problem Solving

See also: Project Management Risk Management Effective Decision Making

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  • 7 Best Problem-Solving Skills...

7 Best Problem-Solving Skills for Your Resume + Examples

11 min read · Updated on April 17, 2024

Ken Chase

If you're a strong problem solver, your resume needs to prove it!

Imagine this scenario: a supplier delivers the wrong piece of equipment, your deadline is tomorrow, and your logistics person is out sick. What would you do if you were the one who had to respond?

All businesses encounter problems at one time or another. That's why companies need high-quality employees on hand who can solve problems like shifting deadlines, equipment failure, and changing client needs. Those problem-solving skills can mean the difference between success and failure. 

That's why today's employers are actively seeking candidates who possess these critical problem-solving skills. 

But what are problem-solving skills? 

How do you identify which ones you might have or which ones a hiring manager might be looking for? 

Most importantly, how can you present problem-solving on your resume to land that interview?

In this post, we'll help you learn to identify, define, and present problem-solving skills in your resume.

What are problem-solving skills?

Put simply, problem-solving skills help you overcome challenges and obstacles. They enable you to identify the core issue, propose solutions, choose the best option, and implement it.

When employers talk about problem-solving skills, they're usually referring to the ability to deal with challenging, complex, or unexpected situations. While they enable someone to assess and solve problems calmly, these skills can also be useful for relationship building and routine decision-making.

Why do companies need employees with problem-solving skills?

All companies experience challenges that can impact their operations and effectiveness. Those businesses will always need people to help them to find solutions to their problems. In fact, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers' Job Outlook, 86% of employers look for problem-solving skills on student resumes.

Employers like to see good problem-solving skills because it also shows them you have a range of other talents, like logic, creativity, resilience, imagination, and lateral thinking.

Looking for problem-solving skills in a job description

Sometimes, a job description will plainly state the problem-solving skills that the job requires. More often, however, problem-solving is one of those skill sets that don't necessarily appear in the “requirements” section of a job post. Employers simply expect candidates to demonstrate an analytical mind. So, instead, they will describe those desired skills using other phrases.

In those instances, you can look for keywords to identify the skills the employer is seeking. When you find any relevant keywords in the job description, you'll be able to tell what skills you should highlight in the resume you send in.

How to include problem-solving skills on a resume

It should be easy to highlight these skills during an interview, where you can describe a specific problem and paint a picture of how you successfully solved it. But it's also easy to find ways to illustrate your problem-solving on your resume.

Problem-solving skills sound like they're self-explanatory, but they can be difficult to describe without good storytelling. Unlike conceptual skills like abstract thinking and ideation, problem-solving skills are all about developing and implementing an action plan. That's why the best strategy to demonstrate your problem-solving skills is to tell a story: find specific examples of challenging scenarios and explain the plan you implemented and the results you achieved. 

Related post : How to Create an Effective STAR Method Resume (With Examples)

Many resumes will use terms like “critical thinker” or “problem-solver.” Instead, get specific by showing how you've used a skill in a way that has solved a problem at work. 

Give examples of scenarios where those skills lead to a solution

Describe a specific process you employed

List major accomplishments enabled by your solution

Add specific training related to problem-solving skills

Use various keywords to avoid repeating “problem-solving”

Let's look at 4 places on a resume where you can describe your problem-solving skills. 

Where to include problem-solving skills on your resume

The summary.

The summary is a great place to present a core skill that has benefitted you and your employers. If you've been responsible for finding out-of-the-box solutions to unexpected problems or been a team leader known for adjusting to personnel or process challenges, this is the place to introduce those talents.

Solutions-driven sales specialist with 10 years of experience managing sales teams, analyzing markets, expanding market reach, and solving logistics issues. Extensive experience with rolling out new products and reinventing campaigns. Transformed market by 40% despite a period of intense market fluctuation.

In the work experience section

The work experience section is the ideal place to list problem-solving skills that have contributed to proven solutions. When detailing past job roles, you can use details like percentages, dollar amounts, and specific scenarios to show how your ability to analyze issues, find options, and communicate action plans has solved problems. 

Mention a time when you took the initiative to troubleshoot key areas

Explain your habit of collecting new data regularly

Give examples of instances when you assumed a leadership role in process optimization

Look at the following resume example. It shows how this candidate's ability to design solutions, optimize testing processes, and adjust the process to the client helped to optimize process efficiency and save the client money. 

In addition, the candidate highlights his communication skills by showing that he can collaborate with clients to adapt processes to their needs. 

Solar Engineer, Acme Corp, 2010 - 2020

Developed solution designs in collaboration with Software Architects that improved process efficiency by 150% and reduced costs by $300K

Supported testing on 3 large-scale projects to refine solutions and ensure they were fit for purpose and matched the customer's needs, resulting in $1M savings for the client

The skills section

If problem-solving skills are needed for a particular role, the hiring manager will be looking for them in the skills section. The key, however, is to only list skills that specifically relate to the job posting. 

Remember, it's crucial to tailor each resume to a specific job advertisement, including the skills section. This is obviously easier if the job post explicitly lists desired skills. If it doesn't, look for keywords in the bullet points of the requirements part of the job description to find specific problem-solving skills to include in your resume.

Is it a management position looking for a “proven leader?” Communication skills are a must-have talent.

Is it a logistics position that requires experience with scaling? Then, troubleshooting and negotiation skills will be paramount.

There are both soft skills and hard skills that can be defined as problem-solving skills. “Test development” can be trained, but “troubleshooting” improves with experience. When considering which skills you possess, look at both categories.

Data analysis / Process analysis / Project design / Solution design / Test development / Benchmark development / Troubleshooting / Collaboration

A notable achievements section

A notable achievements section isn't always necessary, but some resumes can benefit from including one. If, for example, you're using a functional resume format for a career change resume or you're a senior executive looking to emphasize career highlights, an accomplishments section can really highlight those skills in action. 

If you're using this section to focus on your problem-solving skills, describe accomplishments with demonstrable results.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Re-designed and upgraded front-end on 20+ sites with jQuery, AJAX, and Handlebars.js
  • Oversaw process improvements, which reduced expenses by $225,000 per quarter
  • Restructured the supply chain team following vendor flow issues

Related post : Seven Key Resume Sections and How to Organize Them

7 Important problem-solving skills for your resume

Problem-solving skills can range from detail-oriented diagnostics to team leadership. Here's a list of skills involved in various stages of the problem-solving process. When crafting your resume, look to these examples to see what problem-solving skills you might have.

1. Research

Research skills are an essential component of the problem-solving skill set, enabling you to identify and understand the root cause of an issue. Research involves gathering data and information, consulting with more experienced colleagues, acquiring knowledge online or from external sources, and collating newfound data for dissemination. This skill is about the ability to find and use the right resources, extract the data you need, and brainstorm with the right group of people. This means:

Studying specific cases without generalizing

Aiming at variables that make the desired differences

Reporting findings in understandable terms

2. Analysis

The first step in finding a solution is an effective analysis of the problem.  To solve a problem, you must be able to analyze it from every angle. Your analytical skills will also help you identify and propose solutions that can resolve the problem.

Analytical skills allow you to assess data and processes to find solutions to a company's challenges. These include:

Forecasting

Data analysis

Interpretation of data and metrics

Deductive reasoning

Inductive reasoning 

Diagnostics

3. Critical-thinking

Critical thinking is the ability to process details with a particular flow and draw connections between concepts and facts. In other words, it's “thinking about thinking” – or finding and fixing flaws in the way we think.

The ability to think critically is the foundation of problem solving. Unless you can see the big picture, you won't be able to identify the pros and cons of different action plans. 

Critical thinking includes:

Interpretation

Open-mindedness

4. Decision making

Decision-making is the ability to choose solutions to problems. Simply stated, it's taking the relevant collected data, considering multiple viewpoints, and making an informed choice.

Once the choices are narrowed down, you'll need to pull the trigger – knowing you'll be held accountable for the decision. At times, you may need to make these decisions quickly, even if the wrong decision might make the problem worse. The ability to make proper use of your research and analysis to select the best action plan is a valuable skill. Components of this skill include:

Emotional Intelligence

Organization

5. Creativity

Sometimes, the best solution is only found by thinking outside the box. That demands creativity. 

Creativity is the ability to approach a task or a challenge in a different way. In other words, it's possessing the imagination to generate new ideas and find interesting approaches and unique perspectives. Creativity is often described as

Divergent thinking

Inspirational thinking

Outside-the-box thinking

Experimental thinking

6. Communication

Strong communication skills are vital during all phases of problem solving:

While identifying and analyzing the problem, you'll need to know how to communicate the core issues to others.

When researching the background of the issue, you'll need to know what communication channels are appropriate when seeking guidance.

When brainstorming possible solutions, you will need to know how to guide a team through positive and effective discussions.

Then, once you find a solution, communicating the action plan with clarity and precision is key to avoiding confusion and achieving proper implementation. 

No problem would ever be solved without good communication skills at work. 

Communication skills, however, include a much broader array of abilities beyond just speaking clearly. They also encompass listening in ways that make your colleagues feel heard, body language that puts your audience at ease, and vocal pitch adjustments to make your point land better. Here are a few common communication skills:

Active listening

Giving constructive feedback

Presentation / visual communication

Nonverbal communication

Written communication

Oral communication

Voice modulation

Rapport building 

7. Collaboration

In the business world, most problems are solved by teams of dedicated personnel, working in collaboration with one another. When highlighting this skill, you need to show how you've worked effectively as part of a team to generate and implement solutions.

Collaboration, by definition, means working with one or more individuals to complete a task. In the workplace, collaboration can be brainstorming ideas, delegating tasks to individual strengths, layering pieces of a process, or bringing together the team to understand the bigger picture.

When people work together, they're more effective at problem solving than when attempting to go it alone. Successful collaboration with your coworkers also increases their motivation and engagement at work, making them feel like they're an important part of the team. 

Collaboration includes:

Long-term thinking

Adaptability

Positive debate

Emotional intelligence

The bottom line

In an increasingly complex business environment, the ability to solve problems is more important than ever before. As a result, including these high-value problem-solving skills on your resume can help to ensure that employers recognize your full value proposition as a prospective new hire. That, in turn, can help to separate you from your competition and increase your odds of landing an interview and job offer.

If you want to make sure that the problem-solving skills in your resume are making the right impression on employers, take a few moments to get your free resume review from our team of experts today!

Related reading:

9 Soft Skills Employers Are Looking for in 2022

11 Steps to Writing the Perfect Resume

Standout Skills for a Resume: How to Make your Resume Great  

Related Articles:

Guide to Writing a Great Resume with No Work Experience

Higher Order Thinking Explained

How to Describe Organizational Skills When Applying for a Job

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How to List Problem-Solving Skills on a Resume [List Included]

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Problem-solving skills are more in-demand than ever. 

Employers love candidates with problem-solving skills because, in 99% of cases, they guarantee you're also logical, creative, clear-headed, and a great decision-maker. 

But claiming you have organizational skills on your resume is not enough. 

To impress recruiters, you've got to prove that you possess them. 

This includes understanding which problem-solving skills you possess and adding them to your resume (the right way), among other things.

This is where this article comes in! We put together everything you need to know about problem-solving skills, including: 

  • 8 Essential Problem-Solving Skills for Your Resume

How to Add Problem-Solving Skills to Your Resume

  • Why Are Problem-Solving Skills Important
  • 6 Problem-Solving Steps

Let's dive right in! 

8 Problem-Solving Skills for Your Resume

Research shows that problem-solving skills consist of several facets : 

  • Identifying and analyzing a problem
  • Taking effective actions
  • Understanding the effect of the decisions
  • Coming up with creative and novel solutions
  • Transferring knowledge from one situation to another
  • Thinking abstractly about problems

As such, there is no single problem-solving skill. Problem-solving includes a set of skills, all of which are equally important in helping your personal and professional life. 

Below, we’ll cover the eight most important problem-solving skills that you can also list on your resume to impress recruiters: 

#1. Research skills

To properly identify and understand a problem, you need excellent research skills. 

Research skills involve being able to gather information from the right sources, reviewing that information in detail to extract the data you need, analyzing the data according to the context, and being able to apply the data to your situation. 

#2. Analytical skills

Analytical skills are required throughout the entire process of solving a problem. 

In a nutshell, analytical skills refer to being able to analyze a situation in depth and from different perspectives . Specifically, you need analytical skills to achieve all of the following while solving a problem:

  • Detect patterns
  • Interpret data
  • Analyze new information
  • Reach conclusions based on several factors

#3. Creativity

Being creative means being able to think outside of the box and look at situations and problems inventively. 

For most people, creativity is mainly associated with creative industries such as arts and crafts, architecture, design, etc. 

In reality, however, creativity is an essential success factor for every job and the data is here to support that. According to this Adobe study , problem-solving (51%) and creativity (47%) have gained the most value in driving salary increases in the last five years. 

When it comes to the process of solving a problem, creativity can help you consider more perspectives, think abstractly about problems, and come up with novel solutions that others haven’t thought of before.

#4. Critical thinking skills

Being able to think critically means that you’re good at rationalizing, understanding the connections between ideas or situations, and logically analyzing any given situation. 

As such, strong critical thinking skills can help you see beyond what’s at face value, make more informed decisions, and anticipate the outcomes of said decisions. 

People who have critical thinking skills share traits such as open-mindedness , cognitive flexibility , skepticism , clarity , and precision . 

#5. Decision-making skills

Before coming up with a single action plan to solve a problem, you’ll need to first brainstorm several possible solutions. 

After that, you need good decision-making skills to choose the best possible solution. Without decision-making skills, you risk prolonging finding a proper solution or aggravating a problem even more. 

#6. Communication skills

With strong communication skills , you’re able to successfully explain the problem to others and propose your solutions. In turn, you can be sure that everyone’s on the same page and that you’re carrying out the action plan accordingly. 

Some communication skills required for problem-solving include: 

  • Active listening
  • Written and verbal communication
  • Giving and receiving feedback

#7. Collaboration

Problem-solving is rarely a process you carry out alone. More often than not, you need to consult relevant stakeholders, give and receive feedback, and work with a team towards a common goal (i.e. solving the problem).

Well, collaboration entails exactly that - working well with others, cooperatively addressing problems, and putting a group’s goal ahead of personal goals. 

Some important collaboration skills that help with problem-solving include: 

  • Conflict resolution
  • Emotional intelligence 

#8. Attention to Detail 

Have you ever heard of the expression “the devil’s in the details?”

It means that something may seem simple on the surface, but in fact, the details make it complicated and are likely to cause problems.

Well, if you’re someone who shows great attention to detail, you’re not likely to let details keep you from solving a problem effectively. 

Not to mention, being able to spot and understand even the smallest details that make up a problem means you’ll be able to grasp the issue in its entire complexity and come up with even more inventive and workable solutions. 

Now that we covered the most important problem-solving skills, we’ll show you how to add them to your resume so that you can stand out from other candidates. 

Let us walk you through the process, step-by-step: 

#1. Mention Your Problem-Solving Skills on Your Resume Summary

The resume summary is a three or four-sentence paragraph positioned at the top of your resume that includes: 

  • Your profession and years of experience 
  • Your top skills (i.e. hard skills or soft skills)
  • One or two noteworthy achievements 

problem-solving-skills-resume-summary

The goal of the resume summary is to catch the hiring manager’s attention, show them you’re a relevant candidate and get them to go through the rest of your resume in detail. 

As such, it’s your first chance to highlight your problem-solving skills effectively. You can either do that by mentioning them among your top skills or by mentioning an achievement that proves you possess a given skill.

In the best-case scenario, you can even do both. 

Here is an example of how you can include problem-solving skills in your resume summary: 

  • Behavioral psychologist with 7+ years of experience in the field. Great research, analytical, and communication skills. Over the last eight years, I’ve worked closely with more than 100 patients with different behavioral disorders, helping them improve their personal and professional lives through different treatment methods. 

#2. Add the RIGHT Problem-Solving Skills Under Your Soft Skills

Secondly, you should list your problem-solving skills under your resume’s soft skills section . 

The listing part is pretty easy - simply create a section titled Skills and write down your problem-solving skills.

There is, however, one caveat: 

You don’t want to overkill your skills section by listing every problem-solving skill we covered in this article.

Not only will the hiring manager have trouble believing you possess each and every skill, but there’s also a high chance you don’t even need all those skills to begin with. 

To make your skills section as relevant as possile, do the following: 

  • Check the job description. The job description can show you exactly what skills you need for the job. If you’re applying for, say, a software engineering position, you’ll probably be required to have the following problem-solving skills: analytical skills, creativity, attention to detail, and cognitive flexibility. 
  • Identify the skills you possess. Think about which skills you can back up with actual experience from your previous jobs. Only list problem-solving skills that you actually possess and that you can prove you possess on your resume. 
  • Add those skills under your soft skills. Then, add the problem-solving skills that you have and that are required in the job under your resume’s “Soft Skills” section. 

#3. Prove Your Problem-Solving Skills In Your Work Experience Section

Finally, you should use the work experience section to prove that you’ve got the problem-solving skills you’ve mentioned throughout your resume. 

Anyone can just claim that they’ve got problem-solving skills on their resume - not everyone can back them up with experience.

Here’s what you can do to convey that you possess problem-solving skills and also make your work experience section as impactful as possible: 

  • Tailor your work experience to the job. Only add past jobs that are relevant to the position you are applying for now. If you’re applying for, say, a software engineering position, the hiring manager will be interested in your previous jobs in the field, but probably not too interested in the time you worked as a server at a restaurant. 
  • Focus on your achievements instead of your responsibilities. More often than not, hiring managers know exactly what your responsibilities consisted of in previous jobs. What they want to know is how you made a positive impact with your achievements. 
  • Make your achievements quantifiable. Speaking of achievements, you want to make them as quantifiable as possible. After all “treated ten patients in the course of a year using positive reinforcement” sounds much better than “treated ten patients.”
  • Use the Laszlo Bock formula . If you’re having trouble phrasing your achievements, the following formula will probably be of help: “Accomplished X as measured by Y doing X.” 
  • Leverage action verbs and keywords. There are hundreds of words and verbs you can use instead of “did,” “accomplished,” etc. The more descriptive you are of your achievements, the more impressive they can sound.

And here’s an example of a project manager describing their problem-solving skills in their work experience section:

  • Fixed company communication issues by implementing a new project management solution. 
  • Improved team productivity by implementing time-tracking software and doing daily stand-up calls.
  • Managed to meet all client deliverable deadlines in 2022.

Why Are Problem-Solving Skills Important?

Are you wondering what exactly is it that makes problem-solving skills so important? 

After all, there are hundreds of soft skills out there that you can master, improve, or learn how to add to your resume. So it’s normal to wonder “why should I focus on problem-solving?” 

Here is why problem-solving skills matter:

  • They can improve your employability. Problem-solving skills are among the most important skills to employers across a range of occupations. In short, employers are always looking for proactive thinkers who can address professional challenges.
  • They can help you grow in your career more easily. You’ll be more likely to get promoted if you can come up with creative solutions to the different problems that you’ll face throughout your career.
  • They can become an essential part of your personal brand . Your current employer, coworkers, and future employers alike will see you as someone creative, reliable, and helpful.
  • They are related to a range of other valuable skills. When you prove you’re a problem solver, you’re effectively saying you’re attentive to detail, logical, creative, analytical, curious, and other things employers are looking for in their employees.

10 Jobs That Require Problem-Solving Skills

As we’ve already mentioned, problem-solving skills come in handy for practically every job. 

Whether you’re a teacher who needs to solve a dispute between peers in your class or a customer representative who needs to help a client, knowing how to go about solving issues is definitely an asset. 

That said, some jobs are all about solving problems. In such cases, problem-solving skills are not just a nice addition to have on your resume - they’re crucial to getting hired. 

Here are the top 10 jobs requiring problem-solving skills in 2024: 

  • Software engineer
  • Air-traffic controller
  • Police officer
  • Social worker
  • Psychologist
  • UX designer

35 Action Verbs You Can Use to Highlight Your Problem-Solving Skills

The language you use to describe your problem-solving skills matters.  

Sure, you can use “ solved” to describe how you dealt with a problem throughout your entire resume and risk coming off as repetitive and unimaginative. 

Or , you can use any of the following action verbs and keywords and make your problem-solving skills pop out in the eyes of recruiters: 

  • Calculate  
  • Critically think 
  • Draw conclusions
  • Experiment 
  • Listen/Listen actively 

The Problem-Solving Process in 6 Steps

Problem-solving is a methodical process. It consists of certain steps that you always need to take if you want to find a good solution. 

The more you understand and practice this process, the better you can get at solving problems. 

Below, we cover the six main steps of problem-solving in detail:

#1. Identify the problem 

The first step to solving a problem is identifying exactly what’s causing it. 

After all, if you’re not focusing on the real underlying issue, you might come up with solutions that don’t fit the problem itself. 

Say, for example, that you’re a teacher that’s facing poor class performance. Identifying whether the problem comes from the students’ not studying enough or from your own teaching methods can make a big difference in the solutions you come up with. 

It typically happens that the faster you find the root cause of the problem, the easier it is to find a proper solution. 

#2. Understand the problem

Once you identify the problem, you’ve got to understand it completely. Here are some questions you can ask to make sure you properly understand a problem: 

  • What is the scale of the problem? 
  • What are its short and long-term effects? 
  • Have you faced something like this before?
  • Can the problem be solved by dividing it into smaller parts?

The better you understand the problem in its complexity, the more likely you are to come up with effective solutions. 

#3. Research the systems that make up the problem 

In many cases, solving a problem will be a complex undertaking. See, complex problems are often the result of several different underlying systems that you need to understand to find a dynamic solution. 

Let’s take the teacher example from above. 

If a certain student is not doing too well and keeps getting poor grades, you might be tempted to go the easy route and simply chastise them and tell them to study more.

This, in a lot of cases, might simply not work because you’re not addressing the root cause of the problem.

The student might, for example, be burned out , unmotivated by the curriculum, or simply struggling with specific topics.

A problem-solving solution that’s more likely to work would be to talk to the student (or their parents), try to understand the reason for their poor grades, and address the root cause behind the problem itself.

#4. Visualize the problem 

This may not apply to all situations, but it can definitely come in handy for most. 

Drawing a diagram to visualize the situation or your solution to the problem can help you grasp its complexity better - especially if the problem is multi-faceted. Anything from PowerPoint to a piece of white paper can be a good tool to visualize your problem, highlight the problem area, and tackle it more effectively.

#5. Brainstorm solutions 

After you’ve done all the above, it’s time to start thinking about solutions. 

This is another step of the problem-solving process that’s based on collaboration and effective communication. In the brainstorming phase, you should sit with team members or relevant stakeholders and come up with as many creative ideas and solutions as possible. 

This is not where you come up with your most refined, well-thought-out ideas. Instead, it’s where you discuss freely and combine diverse knowledge and analysis of the problem to come up with diverse solutions. 

Brainstorming is an essential part of problem-solving that can help you break out of boring or predictable ideas and thinking patterns. 

#6. Choose the best answer(s)

This is where decision-making skills come in. With a list of different potential solutions, you can narrow down your options to finally choose the best one. 

To reach a solution more easily, take the following into consideration:

  • Your company’s/organization’s objectives
  • The budget and the timeframe at your disposal
  • The success outcomes
  • Potential risks linked to the solution 

Finally, discuss your solutions with relevant stakeholders and team members to gather all the possible feedback that can help you make the best possible decision. 

And remember - once you’ve chosen the best possible solution to a problem, your work is far from over. Being a problem solver also includes the following: 

  • Develop and implement an action plan
  • Monitor the progress of your plan 
  • Make necessary adjustments during the process
  • Evaluate the outcomes of your solution 

Problem-Solving Skills Resume Example

Problem-Solving-Skills-Resume-Example

Want a resume that makes your problem-solving skills pop like the above example? 

Use one of our tried-and-tested resume templates . 

They’re free, modern, and created in collaboration with some of the best HR professionals from around the globe!

Key Takeaways 

And that's a wrap on problem-solving skills. By now, you should know everything there is to know on the topic. 

Before you go, here are the main points we covered in this article: 

  • Problem-solving skills are a set of soft skills that help you solve problems effectively. They involve critical thinking, analytical skills, creativity, communication skills, and attention to detail. 
  • Problem-solving skills can improve your employability, work performance, and personal brand. 
  • Add your problem-solving skills to your resume summary, under the soft skills section, and in your work history section. 
  • When you’re creating your work history section, make sure to tailor it to the job, focus on your achievements and make them quantifiable, and use action verbs and keywords from the job description. 
  • To get better at solving problems, follow these steps: identify and understand the problem, research the systems that make up the problem, visualize the problem, brainstorm, and choose the best possible solution. 
  • Once that’s done, create an action plan and make sure to monitor its progress as you’re implementing it. 

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What Are Problem-Solving Skills? (Definition, Examples, And How To List On A Resume)

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Find a Job You Really Want In

Summary. Problem-solving skills include analysis, creativity, prioritization, organization, and troubleshooting. To solve a problem, you need to use a variety of skills based on the needs of the situation.

Most jobs essentially boil down to identifying and solving problems consistently and effectively. That’s why employers value problem-solving skills in job candidates for just about every role.

We’ll cover problem-solving methods, ways to improve your problem-solving skills, and examples of showcasing your problem-solving skills during your job search .

Key Takeaways:

If you can show off your problem-solving skills on your resume , in your cover letter , and during a job interview, you’ll be one step closer to landing a job.

Companies rely on employees who can handle unexpected challenges, identify persistent issues, and offer workable solutions in a positive way.

It is important to improve problem solving skill because this is a skill that can be cultivated and nurtured so you can become better at dealing with problems over time.

What are problem solving skills (definition, examples, and how to list on a resume)

Types of Problem-Solving Skills

How to improve your problem-solving skills, example answers to problem-solving interview questions, how to show off problem-solving skills on a resume, example resume and cover letter with problem-solving skills, more about problem-solving skills, problem solving skills faqs.

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Problem-solving skills are skills that help you identify and solve problems effectively and efficiently . Your ability to solve problems is one of the main ways that hiring managers and recruiters assess candidates, as those with excellent problem-solving skills are more likely to autonomously carry out their responsibilities.

A true problem solver can look at a situation, find the cause of the problem (or causes, because there are often many issues at play), and then come up with a reasonable solution that effectively fixes the problem or at least remedies most of it.

The ability to solve problems is considered a soft skill , meaning that it’s more of a personality trait than a skill you’ve learned at school, on the job, or through technical training.

That being said, your proficiency with various hard skills will have a direct bearing on your ability to solve problems. For example, it doesn’t matter if you’re a great problem-solver; if you have no experience with astrophysics, you probably won’t be hired as a space station technician .

Problem-solving is considered a skill on its own, but it’s supported by many other skills that can help you be a better problem solver. These skills fall into a few different categories of problem-solving skills.

Problem recognition and analysis. The first step is to recognize that there is a problem and discover what it is or what the root cause of it is.

You can’t begin to solve a problem unless you’re aware of it. Sometimes you’ll see the problem yourself and other times you’ll be told about the problem. Both methods of discovery are very important, but they can require some different skills. The following can be an important part of the process:

Active listening

Data analysis

Historical analysis

Communication

Create possible solutions. You know what the problem is, and you might even know the why of it, but then what? Your next step is the come up with some solutions.

Most of the time, the first solution you come up with won’t be the right one. Don’t fall victim to knee-jerk reactions; try some of the following methods to give you solution options.

Brainstorming

Forecasting

Decision-making

Topic knowledge/understanding

Process flow

Evaluation of solution options. Now that you have a lot of solution options, it’s time to weed through them and start casting some aside. There might be some ridiculous ones, bad ones, and ones you know could never be implemented. Throw them away and focus on the potentially winning ideas.

This step is probably the one where a true, natural problem solver will shine. They intuitively can put together mental scenarios and try out solutions to see their plusses and minuses. If you’re still working on your skill set — try listing the pros and cons on a sheet of paper.

Prioritizing

Evaluating and weighing

Solution implementation. This is your “take action” step. Once you’ve decided which way to go, it’s time to head down that path and see if you were right. This step takes a lot of people and management skills to make it work for you.

Dependability

Teambuilding

Troubleshooting

Follow-Through

Believability

Trustworthiness

Project management

Evaluation of the solution. Was it a good solution? Did your plan work or did it fail miserably? Sometimes the evaluation step takes a lot of work and review to accurately determine effectiveness. The following skills might be essential for a thorough evaluation.

Customer service

Feedback responses

Flexibility

You now have a ton of skills in front of you. Some of them you have naturally and some — not so much. If you want to solve a problem, and you want to be known for doing that well and consistently, then it’s time to sharpen those skills.

Develop industry knowledge. Whether it’s broad-based industry knowledge, on-the-job training , or very specific knowledge about a small sector — knowing all that you can and feeling very confident in your knowledge goes a long way to learning how to solve problems.

Be a part of a solution. Step up and become involved in the problem-solving process. Don’t lead — but follow. Watch an expert solve the problem and, if you pay attention, you’ll learn how to solve a problem, too. Pay attention to the steps and the skills that a person uses.

Practice solving problems. Do some role-playing with a mentor , a professor , co-workers, other students — just start throwing problems out there and coming up with solutions and then detail how those solutions may play out.

Go a step further, find some real-world problems and create your solutions, then find out what they did to solve the problem in actuality.

Identify your weaknesses. If you could easily point out a few of your weaknesses in the list of skills above, then those are the areas you need to focus on improving. How you do it is incredibly varied, so find a method that works for you.

Solve some problems — for real. If the opportunity arises, step in and use your problem-solving skills. You’ll never really know how good (or bad) you are at it until you fail.

That’s right, failing will teach you so much more than succeeding will. You’ll learn how to go back and readdress the problem, find out where you went wrong, learn more from listening even better. Failure will be your best teacher ; it might not make you feel good, but it’ll make you a better problem-solver in the long run.

Once you’ve impressed a hiring manager with top-notch problem-solving skills on your resume and cover letter , you’ll need to continue selling yourself as a problem-solver in the job interview.

There are three main ways that employers can assess your problem-solving skills during an interview:

By asking questions that relate to your past experiences solving problems

Posing hypothetical problems for you to solve

By administering problem-solving tests and exercises

The third method varies wildly depending on what job you’re applying for, so we won’t attempt to cover all the possible problem-solving tests and exercises that may be a part of your application process.

Luckily, interview questions focused on problem-solving are pretty well-known, and most can be answered using the STAR method . STAR stands for situation, task, action, result, and it’s a great way to organize your answers to behavioral interview questions .

Let’s take a look at how to answer some common interview questions built to assess your problem-solving capabilities:

At my current job as an operations analyst at XYZ Inc., my boss set a quarterly goal to cut contractor spending by 25% while maintaining the same level of production and moving more processes in-house. It turned out that achieving this goal required hiring an additional 6 full-time employees, which got stalled due to the pandemic. I suggested that we widen our net and hire remote employees after our initial applicant pool had no solid candidates. I ran the analysis on overhead costs and found that if even 4 of the 6 employees were remote, we’d save 16% annually compared to the contractors’ rates. In the end, all 6 employees we hired were fully remote, and we cut costs by 26% while production rose by a modest amount.
I try to step back and gather research as my first step. For instance, I had a client who needed a graphic designer to work with Crello, which I had never seen before, let alone used. After getting the project details straight, I began meticulously studying the program the YouTube tutorials, and the quick course Crello provides. I also reached out to coworkers who had worked on projects for this same client in the past. Once I felt comfortable with the software, I started work immediately. It was a slower process because I had to be more methodical in my approach, but by putting in some extra hours, I turned in the project ahead of schedule. The client was thrilled with my work and was shocked to hear me joke afterward that it was my first time using Crello.
As a digital marketer , website traffic and conversion rates are my ultimate metrics. However, I also track less visible metrics that can illuminate the story behind the results. For instance, using Google Analytics, I found that 78% of our referral traffic was coming from one affiliate, but that these referrals were only accounting for 5% of our conversions. Another affiliate, who only accounted for about 10% of our referral traffic, was responsible for upwards of 30% of our conversions. I investigated further and found that the second, more effective affiliate was essentially qualifying our leads for us before sending them our way, which made it easier for us to close. I figured out exactly how they were sending us better customers, and reached out to the first, more prolific but less effective affiliate with my understanding of the results. They were able to change their pages that were referring us traffic, and our conversions from that source tripled in just a month. It showed me the importance of digging below the “big picture” metrics to see the mechanics of how revenue was really being generated through digital marketing.

You can bring up your problem-solving skills in your resume summary statement , in your work experience , and under your education section , if you’re a recent graduate. The key is to include items on your resume that speak direclty to your ability to solve problems and generate results.

If you can, quantify your problem-solving accomplishments on your your resume . Hiring managers and recruiters are always more impressed with results that include numbers because they provide much-needed context.

This sample resume for a Customer Service Representative will give you an idea of how you can work problem solving into your resume.

Michelle Beattle 111 Millennial Parkway Chicago, IL 60007 (555) 987-6543 [email protected] Professional Summary Qualified Customer Services Representative with 3 years in a high-pressure customer service environment. Professional, personable, and a true problem solver. Work History ABC Store — Customer Service Representative 01/2015 — 12/2017 Managed in-person and phone relations with customers coming in to pick up purchases, return purchased products, helped find and order items not on store shelves, and explained details and care of merchandise. Became a key player in the customer service department and was promoted to team lead. XYZ Store — Customer Service Representative/Night Manager 01/2018 — 03/2020, released due to Covid-19 layoffs Worked as the night manager of the customer service department and filled in daytime hours when needed. Streamlined a process of moving customers to the right department through an app to ease the burden on the phone lines and reduce customer wait time by 50%. Was working on additional wait time problems when the Covid-19 pandemic caused our stores to close permanently. Education Chicago Tech 2014-2016 Earned an Associate’s Degree in Principles of Customer Care Skills Strong customer service skills Excellent customer complaint resolution Stock record management Order fulfillment New product information Cash register skills and proficiency Leader in problem solving initiatives

You can see how the resume gives you a chance to point out your problem-solving skills and to show where you used them a few times. Your cover letter is your chance to introduce yourself and list a few things that make you stand out from the crowd.

Michelle Beattle 111 Millennial Parkway Chicago, IL 60007 (555) 987-6543 [email protected] Dear Mary McDonald, I am writing in response to your ad on Zippia for a Customer Service Representative . Thank you for taking the time to consider me for this position. Many people believe that a job in customer service is simply listening to people complain all day. I see the job as much more than that. It’s an opportunity to help people solve problems, make their experience with your company more enjoyable, and turn them into life-long advocates of your brand. Through my years of experience and my educational background at Chicago Tech, where I earned an Associate’s Degree in the Principles of Customer Care, I have learned that the customers are the lifeline of the business and without good customer service representatives, a business will falter. I see it as my mission to make each and every customer I come in contact with a fan. I have more than five years of experience in the Customer Services industry and had advanced my role at my last job to Night Manager. I am eager to again prove myself as a hard worker, a dedicated people person, and a problem solver that can be relied upon. I have built a professional reputation as an employee that respects all other employees and customers, as a manager who gets the job done and finds solutions when necessary, and a worker who dives in to learn all she can about the business. Most of my customers have been very satisfied with my resolution ideas and have returned to do business with us again. I believe my expertise would make me a great match for LMNO Store. I have enclosed my resume for your review, and I would appreciate having the opportunity to meet with you to further discuss my qualifications. Thank you again for your time and consideration. Sincerely, Michelle Beattle

You’ve no doubt noticed that many of the skills listed in the problem-solving process are repeated. This is because having these abilities or talents is so important to the entire course of getting a problem solved.

In fact, they’re worthy of a little more attention. Many of them are similar, so we’ll pull them together and discuss how they’re important and how they work together.

Communication, active listening, and customer service skills. No matter where you are in the process of problem-solving, you need to be able to show that you’re listening and engaged and really hearing what the problem is or what a solution may be.

Obviously, the other part of this is being able to communicate effectively so people understand what you’re saying without confusion. Rolled into this are customer service skills , which really are all about listening and responding appropriately — it’s the ultimate in interpersonal communications.

Analysis (data and historical), research, and topic knowledge/understanding. This is how you intellectually grasp the issue and approach it. This can come from studying the topic and the process or it can come from knowledge you’ve gained after years in the business. But the best solutions come from people who thoroughly understand the problem.

Creativity, brainstorming, troubleshooting, and flexibility. All of you creative thinkers will like this area because it’s when your brain is at its best.

Coming up with ideas, collaborating with others, leaping over hurdles, and then being able to change courses immediately, if need be, are all essential. If you’re not creative by nature, then having a team of diverse thinkers can help you in this area.

Dependability, believability, trustworthiness, and follow-through. Think about it, these are all traits a person needs to have to make change happen and to make you comfortable taking that next step with them. Someone who is shifty and shady and never follows through, well, you’re simply not going to do what they ask, are you?

Leadership, teambuilding, decision-making, and project management. These are the skills that someone who is in charge is brimming with. These are the leaders you enjoy working for because you know they’re doing what they can to keep everything in working order. These skills can be learned but they’re often innate.

Prioritizing, prediction, forecasting, evaluating and weighing, and process flow. If you love flow charts, data analysis, prediction modeling, and all of that part of the equation, then you might have some great problem-solving abilities.

These are all great skills because they can help you weed out bad ideas, see flaws, and save massive amounts of time in trial and error.

What is a good example of problem-solving skills?

Good examples of porblem-solving skills include research, analysis, creativity, communciation, and decision-making. Each of these skills build off one another to contribute to the problem solving process. Research and analysis allow you to identify a problem.

Creativity and analysis help you consider different solutions. Meanwhile, communication and decision-making are key to working with others to solve a problem on a large scale.

What are 3 key attributes of a good problem solver?

3 key attributes of a good problem solver are persistence, intellegince, and empathy. Persistence is crucial to remain motivated to work through challenges. Inellegince is needed to make smart, informed choices. Empathy is crucial to maintain positive relationships with others as well as yourself.

What can I say instead of problem-solving skills?

Instead of saying problem-solving skills, you can say the following:

Critical thinker

Solutions-oriented

Engineering

Using different words is helpful, especially when writing your resume and cover letter.

What is problem-solving in the workplace?

Problem-solving in the workplace is the ability to work through any sort of challenge, conflict, or unexpected situation and still achieve business goals. Though it varies by profession, roblem-solving in the workplace is very important for almost any job, because probelms are inevitable. You need to have the appropriate level of problem-solving skills if you want to succeed in your career, whatever it may be.

Department of Labor – Problem Solving and Critical Thinking

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Kristin Kizer is an award-winning writer, television and documentary producer, and content specialist who has worked on a wide variety of written, broadcast, and electronic publications. A former writer/producer for The Discovery Channel, she is now a freelance writer and delighted to be sharing her talents and time with the wonderful Zippia audience.

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35 problem-solving techniques and methods for solving complex problems

Problem solving workshop

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All teams and organizations encounter challenges as they grow. There are problems that might occur for teams when it comes to miscommunication or resolving business-critical issues . You may face challenges around growth , design , user engagement, and even team culture and happiness. In short, problem-solving techniques should be part of every team’s skillset.

Problem-solving methods are primarily designed to help a group or team through a process of first identifying problems and challenges , ideating possible solutions , and then evaluating the most suitable .

Finding effective solutions to complex problems isn’t easy, but by using the right process and techniques, you can help your team be more efficient in the process.

So how do you develop strategies that are engaging, and empower your team to solve problems effectively?

In this blog post, we share a series of problem-solving tools you can use in your next workshop or team meeting. You’ll also find some tips for facilitating the process and how to enable others to solve complex problems.

Let’s get started! 

How do you identify problems?

How do you identify the right solution.

  • Tips for more effective problem-solving

Complete problem-solving methods

  • Problem-solving techniques to identify and analyze problems
  • Problem-solving techniques for developing solutions

Problem-solving warm-up activities

Closing activities for a problem-solving process.

Before you can move towards finding the right solution for a given problem, you first need to identify and define the problem you wish to solve. 

Here, you want to clearly articulate what the problem is and allow your group to do the same. Remember that everyone in a group is likely to have differing perspectives and alignment is necessary in order to help the group move forward. 

Identifying a problem accurately also requires that all members of a group are able to contribute their views in an open and safe manner. It can be scary for people to stand up and contribute, especially if the problems or challenges are emotive or personal in nature. Be sure to try and create a psychologically safe space for these kinds of discussions.

Remember that problem analysis and further discussion are also important. Not taking the time to fully analyze and discuss a challenge can result in the development of solutions that are not fit for purpose or do not address the underlying issue.

Successfully identifying and then analyzing a problem means facilitating a group through activities designed to help them clearly and honestly articulate their thoughts and produce usable insight.

With this data, you might then produce a problem statement that clearly describes the problem you wish to be addressed and also state the goal of any process you undertake to tackle this issue.  

Finding solutions is the end goal of any process. Complex organizational challenges can only be solved with an appropriate solution but discovering them requires using the right problem-solving tool.

After you’ve explored a problem and discussed ideas, you need to help a team discuss and choose the right solution. Consensus tools and methods such as those below help a group explore possible solutions before then voting for the best. They’re a great way to tap into the collective intelligence of the group for great results!

Remember that the process is often iterative. Great problem solvers often roadtest a viable solution in a measured way to see what works too. While you might not get the right solution on your first try, the methods below help teams land on the most likely to succeed solution while also holding space for improvement.

Every effective problem solving process begins with an agenda . A well-structured workshop is one of the best methods for successfully guiding a group from exploring a problem to implementing a solution.

In SessionLab, it’s easy to go from an idea to a complete agenda . Start by dragging and dropping your core problem solving activities into place . Add timings, breaks and necessary materials before sharing your agenda with your colleagues.

The resulting agenda will be your guide to an effective and productive problem solving session that will also help you stay organized on the day!

other skills like problem solving

Tips for more effective problem solving

Problem-solving activities are only one part of the puzzle. While a great method can help unlock your team’s ability to solve problems, without a thoughtful approach and strong facilitation the solutions may not be fit for purpose.

Let’s take a look at some problem-solving tips you can apply to any process to help it be a success!

Clearly define the problem

Jumping straight to solutions can be tempting, though without first clearly articulating a problem, the solution might not be the right one. Many of the problem-solving activities below include sections where the problem is explored and clearly defined before moving on.

This is a vital part of the problem-solving process and taking the time to fully define an issue can save time and effort later. A clear definition helps identify irrelevant information and it also ensures that your team sets off on the right track.

Don’t jump to conclusions

It’s easy for groups to exhibit cognitive bias or have preconceived ideas about both problems and potential solutions. Be sure to back up any problem statements or potential solutions with facts, research, and adequate forethought.

The best techniques ask participants to be methodical and challenge preconceived notions. Make sure you give the group enough time and space to collect relevant information and consider the problem in a new way. By approaching the process with a clear, rational mindset, you’ll often find that better solutions are more forthcoming.  

Try different approaches  

Problems come in all shapes and sizes and so too should the methods you use to solve them. If you find that one approach isn’t yielding results and your team isn’t finding different solutions, try mixing it up. You’ll be surprised at how using a new creative activity can unblock your team and generate great solutions.

Don’t take it personally 

Depending on the nature of your team or organizational problems, it’s easy for conversations to get heated. While it’s good for participants to be engaged in the discussions, ensure that emotions don’t run too high and that blame isn’t thrown around while finding solutions.

You’re all in it together, and even if your team or area is seeing problems, that isn’t necessarily a disparagement of you personally. Using facilitation skills to manage group dynamics is one effective method of helping conversations be more constructive.

Get the right people in the room

Your problem-solving method is often only as effective as the group using it. Getting the right people on the job and managing the number of people present is important too!

If the group is too small, you may not get enough different perspectives to effectively solve a problem. If the group is too large, you can go round and round during the ideation stages.

Creating the right group makeup is also important in ensuring you have the necessary expertise and skillset to both identify and follow up on potential solutions. Carefully consider who to include at each stage to help ensure your problem-solving method is followed and positioned for success.

Document everything

The best solutions can take refinement, iteration, and reflection to come out. Get into a habit of documenting your process in order to keep all the learnings from the session and to allow ideas to mature and develop. Many of the methods below involve the creation of documents or shared resources. Be sure to keep and share these so everyone can benefit from the work done!

Bring a facilitator 

Facilitation is all about making group processes easier. With a subject as potentially emotive and important as problem-solving, having an impartial third party in the form of a facilitator can make all the difference in finding great solutions and keeping the process moving. Consider bringing a facilitator to your problem-solving session to get better results and generate meaningful solutions!

Develop your problem-solving skills

It takes time and practice to be an effective problem solver. While some roles or participants might more naturally gravitate towards problem-solving, it can take development and planning to help everyone create better solutions.

You might develop a training program, run a problem-solving workshop or simply ask your team to practice using the techniques below. Check out our post on problem-solving skills to see how you and your group can develop the right mental process and be more resilient to issues too!

Design a great agenda

Workshops are a great format for solving problems. With the right approach, you can focus a group and help them find the solutions to their own problems. But designing a process can be time-consuming and finding the right activities can be difficult.

Check out our workshop planning guide to level-up your agenda design and start running more effective workshops. Need inspiration? Check out templates designed by expert facilitators to help you kickstart your process!

In this section, we’ll look at in-depth problem-solving methods that provide a complete end-to-end process for developing effective solutions. These will help guide your team from the discovery and definition of a problem through to delivering the right solution.

If you’re looking for an all-encompassing method or problem-solving model, these processes are a great place to start. They’ll ask your team to challenge preconceived ideas and adopt a mindset for solving problems more effectively.

  • Six Thinking Hats
  • Lightning Decision Jam
  • Problem Definition Process
  • Discovery & Action Dialogue
Design Sprint 2.0
  • Open Space Technology

1. Six Thinking Hats

Individual approaches to solving a problem can be very different based on what team or role an individual holds. It can be easy for existing biases or perspectives to find their way into the mix, or for internal politics to direct a conversation.

Six Thinking Hats is a classic method for identifying the problems that need to be solved and enables your team to consider them from different angles, whether that is by focusing on facts and data, creative solutions, or by considering why a particular solution might not work.

Like all problem-solving frameworks, Six Thinking Hats is effective at helping teams remove roadblocks from a conversation or discussion and come to terms with all the aspects necessary to solve complex problems.

2. Lightning Decision Jam

Featured courtesy of Jonathan Courtney of AJ&Smart Berlin, Lightning Decision Jam is one of those strategies that should be in every facilitation toolbox. Exploring problems and finding solutions is often creative in nature, though as with any creative process, there is the potential to lose focus and get lost.

Unstructured discussions might get you there in the end, but it’s much more effective to use a method that creates a clear process and team focus.

In Lightning Decision Jam, participants are invited to begin by writing challenges, concerns, or mistakes on post-its without discussing them before then being invited by the moderator to present them to the group.

From there, the team vote on which problems to solve and are guided through steps that will allow them to reframe those problems, create solutions and then decide what to execute on. 

By deciding the problems that need to be solved as a team before moving on, this group process is great for ensuring the whole team is aligned and can take ownership over the next stages. 

Lightning Decision Jam (LDJ)   #action   #decision making   #problem solving   #issue analysis   #innovation   #design   #remote-friendly   The problem with anything that requires creative thinking is that it’s easy to get lost—lose focus and fall into the trap of having useless, open-ended, unstructured discussions. Here’s the most effective solution I’ve found: Replace all open, unstructured discussion with a clear process. What to use this exercise for: Anything which requires a group of people to make decisions, solve problems or discuss challenges. It’s always good to frame an LDJ session with a broad topic, here are some examples: The conversion flow of our checkout Our internal design process How we organise events Keeping up with our competition Improving sales flow

3. Problem Definition Process

While problems can be complex, the problem-solving methods you use to identify and solve those problems can often be simple in design. 

By taking the time to truly identify and define a problem before asking the group to reframe the challenge as an opportunity, this method is a great way to enable change.

Begin by identifying a focus question and exploring the ways in which it manifests before splitting into five teams who will each consider the problem using a different method: escape, reversal, exaggeration, distortion or wishful. Teams develop a problem objective and create ideas in line with their method before then feeding them back to the group.

This method is great for enabling in-depth discussions while also creating space for finding creative solutions too!

Problem Definition   #problem solving   #idea generation   #creativity   #online   #remote-friendly   A problem solving technique to define a problem, challenge or opportunity and to generate ideas.

4. The 5 Whys 

Sometimes, a group needs to go further with their strategies and analyze the root cause at the heart of organizational issues. An RCA or root cause analysis is the process of identifying what is at the heart of business problems or recurring challenges. 

The 5 Whys is a simple and effective method of helping a group go find the root cause of any problem or challenge and conduct analysis that will deliver results. 

By beginning with the creation of a problem statement and going through five stages to refine it, The 5 Whys provides everything you need to truly discover the cause of an issue.

The 5 Whys   #hyperisland   #innovation   This simple and powerful method is useful for getting to the core of a problem or challenge. As the title suggests, the group defines a problems, then asks the question “why” five times, often using the resulting explanation as a starting point for creative problem solving.

5. World Cafe

World Cafe is a simple but powerful facilitation technique to help bigger groups to focus their energy and attention on solving complex problems.

World Cafe enables this approach by creating a relaxed atmosphere where participants are able to self-organize and explore topics relevant and important to them which are themed around a central problem-solving purpose. Create the right atmosphere by modeling your space after a cafe and after guiding the group through the method, let them take the lead!

Making problem-solving a part of your organization’s culture in the long term can be a difficult undertaking. More approachable formats like World Cafe can be especially effective in bringing people unfamiliar with workshops into the fold. 

World Cafe   #hyperisland   #innovation   #issue analysis   World Café is a simple yet powerful method, originated by Juanita Brown, for enabling meaningful conversations driven completely by participants and the topics that are relevant and important to them. Facilitators create a cafe-style space and provide simple guidelines. Participants then self-organize and explore a set of relevant topics or questions for conversation.

6. Discovery & Action Dialogue (DAD)

One of the best approaches is to create a safe space for a group to share and discover practices and behaviors that can help them find their own solutions.

With DAD, you can help a group choose which problems they wish to solve and which approaches they will take to do so. It’s great at helping remove resistance to change and can help get buy-in at every level too!

This process of enabling frontline ownership is great in ensuring follow-through and is one of the methods you will want in your toolbox as a facilitator.

Discovery & Action Dialogue (DAD)   #idea generation   #liberating structures   #action   #issue analysis   #remote-friendly   DADs make it easy for a group or community to discover practices and behaviors that enable some individuals (without access to special resources and facing the same constraints) to find better solutions than their peers to common problems. These are called positive deviant (PD) behaviors and practices. DADs make it possible for people in the group, unit, or community to discover by themselves these PD practices. DADs also create favorable conditions for stimulating participants’ creativity in spaces where they can feel safe to invent new and more effective practices. Resistance to change evaporates as participants are unleashed to choose freely which practices they will adopt or try and which problems they will tackle. DADs make it possible to achieve frontline ownership of solutions.

7. Design Sprint 2.0

Want to see how a team can solve big problems and move forward with prototyping and testing solutions in a few days? The Design Sprint 2.0 template from Jake Knapp, author of Sprint, is a complete agenda for a with proven results.

Developing the right agenda can involve difficult but necessary planning. Ensuring all the correct steps are followed can also be stressful or time-consuming depending on your level of experience.

Use this complete 4-day workshop template if you are finding there is no obvious solution to your challenge and want to focus your team around a specific problem that might require a shortcut to launching a minimum viable product or waiting for the organization-wide implementation of a solution.

8. Open space technology

Open space technology- developed by Harrison Owen – creates a space where large groups are invited to take ownership of their problem solving and lead individual sessions. Open space technology is a great format when you have a great deal of expertise and insight in the room and want to allow for different takes and approaches on a particular theme or problem you need to be solved.

Start by bringing your participants together to align around a central theme and focus their efforts. Explain the ground rules to help guide the problem-solving process and then invite members to identify any issue connecting to the central theme that they are interested in and are prepared to take responsibility for.

Once participants have decided on their approach to the core theme, they write their issue on a piece of paper, announce it to the group, pick a session time and place, and post the paper on the wall. As the wall fills up with sessions, the group is then invited to join the sessions that interest them the most and which they can contribute to, then you’re ready to begin!

Everyone joins the problem-solving group they’ve signed up to, record the discussion and if appropriate, findings can then be shared with the rest of the group afterward.

Open Space Technology   #action plan   #idea generation   #problem solving   #issue analysis   #large group   #online   #remote-friendly   Open Space is a methodology for large groups to create their agenda discerning important topics for discussion, suitable for conferences, community gatherings and whole system facilitation

Techniques to identify and analyze problems

Using a problem-solving method to help a team identify and analyze a problem can be a quick and effective addition to any workshop or meeting.

While further actions are always necessary, you can generate momentum and alignment easily, and these activities are a great place to get started.

We’ve put together this list of techniques to help you and your team with problem identification, analysis, and discussion that sets the foundation for developing effective solutions.

Let’s take a look!

  • The Creativity Dice
  • Fishbone Analysis
  • Problem Tree
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Agreement-Certainty Matrix
  • The Journalistic Six
  • LEGO Challenge
  • What, So What, Now What?
  • Journalists

Individual and group perspectives are incredibly important, but what happens if people are set in their minds and need a change of perspective in order to approach a problem more effectively?

Flip It is a method we love because it is both simple to understand and run, and allows groups to understand how their perspectives and biases are formed. 

Participants in Flip It are first invited to consider concerns, issues, or problems from a perspective of fear and write them on a flip chart. Then, the group is asked to consider those same issues from a perspective of hope and flip their understanding.  

No problem and solution is free from existing bias and by changing perspectives with Flip It, you can then develop a problem solving model quickly and effectively.

Flip It!   #gamestorming   #problem solving   #action   Often, a change in a problem or situation comes simply from a change in our perspectives. Flip It! is a quick game designed to show players that perspectives are made, not born.

10. The Creativity Dice

One of the most useful problem solving skills you can teach your team is of approaching challenges with creativity, flexibility, and openness. Games like The Creativity Dice allow teams to overcome the potential hurdle of too much linear thinking and approach the process with a sense of fun and speed. 

In The Creativity Dice, participants are organized around a topic and roll a dice to determine what they will work on for a period of 3 minutes at a time. They might roll a 3 and work on investigating factual information on the chosen topic. They might roll a 1 and work on identifying the specific goals, standards, or criteria for the session.

Encouraging rapid work and iteration while asking participants to be flexible are great skills to cultivate. Having a stage for idea incubation in this game is also important. Moments of pause can help ensure the ideas that are put forward are the most suitable. 

The Creativity Dice   #creativity   #problem solving   #thiagi   #issue analysis   Too much linear thinking is hazardous to creative problem solving. To be creative, you should approach the problem (or the opportunity) from different points of view. You should leave a thought hanging in mid-air and move to another. This skipping around prevents premature closure and lets your brain incubate one line of thought while you consciously pursue another.

11. Fishbone Analysis

Organizational or team challenges are rarely simple, and it’s important to remember that one problem can be an indication of something that goes deeper and may require further consideration to be solved.

Fishbone Analysis helps groups to dig deeper and understand the origins of a problem. It’s a great example of a root cause analysis method that is simple for everyone on a team to get their head around. 

Participants in this activity are asked to annotate a diagram of a fish, first adding the problem or issue to be worked on at the head of a fish before then brainstorming the root causes of the problem and adding them as bones on the fish. 

Using abstractions such as a diagram of a fish can really help a team break out of their regular thinking and develop a creative approach.

Fishbone Analysis   #problem solving   ##root cause analysis   #decision making   #online facilitation   A process to help identify and understand the origins of problems, issues or observations.

12. Problem Tree 

Encouraging visual thinking can be an essential part of many strategies. By simply reframing and clarifying problems, a group can move towards developing a problem solving model that works for them. 

In Problem Tree, groups are asked to first brainstorm a list of problems – these can be design problems, team problems or larger business problems – and then organize them into a hierarchy. The hierarchy could be from most important to least important or abstract to practical, though the key thing with problem solving games that involve this aspect is that your group has some way of managing and sorting all the issues that are raised.

Once you have a list of problems that need to be solved and have organized them accordingly, you’re then well-positioned for the next problem solving steps.

Problem tree   #define intentions   #create   #design   #issue analysis   A problem tree is a tool to clarify the hierarchy of problems addressed by the team within a design project; it represents high level problems or related sublevel problems.

13. SWOT Analysis

Chances are you’ve heard of the SWOT Analysis before. This problem-solving method focuses on identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats is a tried and tested method for both individuals and teams.

Start by creating a desired end state or outcome and bare this in mind – any process solving model is made more effective by knowing what you are moving towards. Create a quadrant made up of the four categories of a SWOT analysis and ask participants to generate ideas based on each of those quadrants.

Once you have those ideas assembled in their quadrants, cluster them together based on their affinity with other ideas. These clusters are then used to facilitate group conversations and move things forward. 

SWOT analysis   #gamestorming   #problem solving   #action   #meeting facilitation   The SWOT Analysis is a long-standing technique of looking at what we have, with respect to the desired end state, as well as what we could improve on. It gives us an opportunity to gauge approaching opportunities and dangers, and assess the seriousness of the conditions that affect our future. When we understand those conditions, we can influence what comes next.

14. Agreement-Certainty Matrix

Not every problem-solving approach is right for every challenge, and deciding on the right method for the challenge at hand is a key part of being an effective team.

The Agreement Certainty matrix helps teams align on the nature of the challenges facing them. By sorting problems from simple to chaotic, your team can understand what methods are suitable for each problem and what they can do to ensure effective results. 

If you are already using Liberating Structures techniques as part of your problem-solving strategy, the Agreement-Certainty Matrix can be an invaluable addition to your process. We’ve found it particularly if you are having issues with recurring problems in your organization and want to go deeper in understanding the root cause. 

Agreement-Certainty Matrix   #issue analysis   #liberating structures   #problem solving   You can help individuals or groups avoid the frequent mistake of trying to solve a problem with methods that are not adapted to the nature of their challenge. The combination of two questions makes it possible to easily sort challenges into four categories: simple, complicated, complex , and chaotic .  A problem is simple when it can be solved reliably with practices that are easy to duplicate.  It is complicated when experts are required to devise a sophisticated solution that will yield the desired results predictably.  A problem is complex when there are several valid ways to proceed but outcomes are not predictable in detail.  Chaotic is when the context is too turbulent to identify a path forward.  A loose analogy may be used to describe these differences: simple is like following a recipe, complicated like sending a rocket to the moon, complex like raising a child, and chaotic is like the game “Pin the Tail on the Donkey.”  The Liberating Structures Matching Matrix in Chapter 5 can be used as the first step to clarify the nature of a challenge and avoid the mismatches between problems and solutions that are frequently at the root of chronic, recurring problems.

Organizing and charting a team’s progress can be important in ensuring its success. SQUID (Sequential Question and Insight Diagram) is a great model that allows a team to effectively switch between giving questions and answers and develop the skills they need to stay on track throughout the process. 

Begin with two different colored sticky notes – one for questions and one for answers – and with your central topic (the head of the squid) on the board. Ask the group to first come up with a series of questions connected to their best guess of how to approach the topic. Ask the group to come up with answers to those questions, fix them to the board and connect them with a line. After some discussion, go back to question mode by responding to the generated answers or other points on the board.

It’s rewarding to see a diagram grow throughout the exercise, and a completed SQUID can provide a visual resource for future effort and as an example for other teams.

SQUID   #gamestorming   #project planning   #issue analysis   #problem solving   When exploring an information space, it’s important for a group to know where they are at any given time. By using SQUID, a group charts out the territory as they go and can navigate accordingly. SQUID stands for Sequential Question and Insight Diagram.

16. Speed Boat

To continue with our nautical theme, Speed Boat is a short and sweet activity that can help a team quickly identify what employees, clients or service users might have a problem with and analyze what might be standing in the way of achieving a solution.

Methods that allow for a group to make observations, have insights and obtain those eureka moments quickly are invaluable when trying to solve complex problems.

In Speed Boat, the approach is to first consider what anchors and challenges might be holding an organization (or boat) back. Bonus points if you are able to identify any sharks in the water and develop ideas that can also deal with competitors!   

Speed Boat   #gamestorming   #problem solving   #action   Speedboat is a short and sweet way to identify what your employees or clients don’t like about your product/service or what’s standing in the way of a desired goal.

17. The Journalistic Six

Some of the most effective ways of solving problems is by encouraging teams to be more inclusive and diverse in their thinking.

Based on the six key questions journalism students are taught to answer in articles and news stories, The Journalistic Six helps create teams to see the whole picture. By using who, what, when, where, why, and how to facilitate the conversation and encourage creative thinking, your team can make sure that the problem identification and problem analysis stages of the are covered exhaustively and thoughtfully. Reporter’s notebook and dictaphone optional.

The Journalistic Six – Who What When Where Why How   #idea generation   #issue analysis   #problem solving   #online   #creative thinking   #remote-friendly   A questioning method for generating, explaining, investigating ideas.

18. LEGO Challenge

Now for an activity that is a little out of the (toy) box. LEGO Serious Play is a facilitation methodology that can be used to improve creative thinking and problem-solving skills. 

The LEGO Challenge includes giving each member of the team an assignment that is hidden from the rest of the group while they create a structure without speaking.

What the LEGO challenge brings to the table is a fun working example of working with stakeholders who might not be on the same page to solve problems. Also, it’s LEGO! Who doesn’t love LEGO! 

LEGO Challenge   #hyperisland   #team   A team-building activity in which groups must work together to build a structure out of LEGO, but each individual has a secret “assignment” which makes the collaborative process more challenging. It emphasizes group communication, leadership dynamics, conflict, cooperation, patience and problem solving strategy.

19. What, So What, Now What?

If not carefully managed, the problem identification and problem analysis stages of the problem-solving process can actually create more problems and misunderstandings.

The What, So What, Now What? problem-solving activity is designed to help collect insights and move forward while also eliminating the possibility of disagreement when it comes to identifying, clarifying, and analyzing organizational or work problems. 

Facilitation is all about bringing groups together so that might work on a shared goal and the best problem-solving strategies ensure that teams are aligned in purpose, if not initially in opinion or insight.

Throughout the three steps of this game, you give everyone on a team to reflect on a problem by asking what happened, why it is important, and what actions should then be taken. 

This can be a great activity for bringing our individual perceptions about a problem or challenge and contextualizing it in a larger group setting. This is one of the most important problem-solving skills you can bring to your organization.

W³ – What, So What, Now What?   #issue analysis   #innovation   #liberating structures   You can help groups reflect on a shared experience in a way that builds understanding and spurs coordinated action while avoiding unproductive conflict. It is possible for every voice to be heard while simultaneously sifting for insights and shaping new direction. Progressing in stages makes this practical—from collecting facts about What Happened to making sense of these facts with So What and finally to what actions logically follow with Now What . The shared progression eliminates most of the misunderstandings that otherwise fuel disagreements about what to do. Voila!

20. Journalists  

Problem analysis can be one of the most important and decisive stages of all problem-solving tools. Sometimes, a team can become bogged down in the details and are unable to move forward.

Journalists is an activity that can avoid a group from getting stuck in the problem identification or problem analysis stages of the process.

In Journalists, the group is invited to draft the front page of a fictional newspaper and figure out what stories deserve to be on the cover and what headlines those stories will have. By reframing how your problems and challenges are approached, you can help a team move productively through the process and be better prepared for the steps to follow.

Journalists   #vision   #big picture   #issue analysis   #remote-friendly   This is an exercise to use when the group gets stuck in details and struggles to see the big picture. Also good for defining a vision.

Problem-solving techniques for developing solutions 

The success of any problem-solving process can be measured by the solutions it produces. After you’ve defined the issue, explored existing ideas, and ideated, it’s time to narrow down to the correct solution.

Use these problem-solving techniques when you want to help your team find consensus, compare possible solutions, and move towards taking action on a particular problem.

  • Improved Solutions
  • Four-Step Sketch
  • 15% Solutions
  • How-Now-Wow matrix
  • Impact Effort Matrix

21. Mindspin  

Brainstorming is part of the bread and butter of the problem-solving process and all problem-solving strategies benefit from getting ideas out and challenging a team to generate solutions quickly. 

With Mindspin, participants are encouraged not only to generate ideas but to do so under time constraints and by slamming down cards and passing them on. By doing multiple rounds, your team can begin with a free generation of possible solutions before moving on to developing those solutions and encouraging further ideation. 

This is one of our favorite problem-solving activities and can be great for keeping the energy up throughout the workshop. Remember the importance of helping people become engaged in the process – energizing problem-solving techniques like Mindspin can help ensure your team stays engaged and happy, even when the problems they’re coming together to solve are complex. 

MindSpin   #teampedia   #idea generation   #problem solving   #action   A fast and loud method to enhance brainstorming within a team. Since this activity has more than round ideas that are repetitive can be ruled out leaving more creative and innovative answers to the challenge.

22. Improved Solutions

After a team has successfully identified a problem and come up with a few solutions, it can be tempting to call the work of the problem-solving process complete. That said, the first solution is not necessarily the best, and by including a further review and reflection activity into your problem-solving model, you can ensure your group reaches the best possible result. 

One of a number of problem-solving games from Thiagi Group, Improved Solutions helps you go the extra mile and develop suggested solutions with close consideration and peer review. By supporting the discussion of several problems at once and by shifting team roles throughout, this problem-solving technique is a dynamic way of finding the best solution. 

Improved Solutions   #creativity   #thiagi   #problem solving   #action   #team   You can improve any solution by objectively reviewing its strengths and weaknesses and making suitable adjustments. In this creativity framegame, you improve the solutions to several problems. To maintain objective detachment, you deal with a different problem during each of six rounds and assume different roles (problem owner, consultant, basher, booster, enhancer, and evaluator) during each round. At the conclusion of the activity, each player ends up with two solutions to her problem.

23. Four Step Sketch

Creative thinking and visual ideation does not need to be confined to the opening stages of your problem-solving strategies. Exercises that include sketching and prototyping on paper can be effective at the solution finding and development stage of the process, and can be great for keeping a team engaged. 

By going from simple notes to a crazy 8s round that involves rapidly sketching 8 variations on their ideas before then producing a final solution sketch, the group is able to iterate quickly and visually. Problem-solving techniques like Four-Step Sketch are great if you have a group of different thinkers and want to change things up from a more textual or discussion-based approach.

Four-Step Sketch   #design sprint   #innovation   #idea generation   #remote-friendly   The four-step sketch is an exercise that helps people to create well-formed concepts through a structured process that includes: Review key information Start design work on paper,  Consider multiple variations , Create a detailed solution . This exercise is preceded by a set of other activities allowing the group to clarify the challenge they want to solve. See how the Four Step Sketch exercise fits into a Design Sprint

24. 15% Solutions

Some problems are simpler than others and with the right problem-solving activities, you can empower people to take immediate actions that can help create organizational change. 

Part of the liberating structures toolkit, 15% solutions is a problem-solving technique that focuses on finding and implementing solutions quickly. A process of iterating and making small changes quickly can help generate momentum and an appetite for solving complex problems.

Problem-solving strategies can live and die on whether people are onboard. Getting some quick wins is a great way of getting people behind the process.   

It can be extremely empowering for a team to realize that problem-solving techniques can be deployed quickly and easily and delineate between things they can positively impact and those things they cannot change. 

15% Solutions   #action   #liberating structures   #remote-friendly   You can reveal the actions, however small, that everyone can do immediately. At a minimum, these will create momentum, and that may make a BIG difference.  15% Solutions show that there is no reason to wait around, feel powerless, or fearful. They help people pick it up a level. They get individuals and the group to focus on what is within their discretion instead of what they cannot change.  With a very simple question, you can flip the conversation to what can be done and find solutions to big problems that are often distributed widely in places not known in advance. Shifting a few grains of sand may trigger a landslide and change the whole landscape.

25. How-Now-Wow Matrix

The problem-solving process is often creative, as complex problems usually require a change of thinking and creative response in order to find the best solutions. While it’s common for the first stages to encourage creative thinking, groups can often gravitate to familiar solutions when it comes to the end of the process. 

When selecting solutions, you don’t want to lose your creative energy! The How-Now-Wow Matrix from Gamestorming is a great problem-solving activity that enables a group to stay creative and think out of the box when it comes to selecting the right solution for a given problem.

Problem-solving techniques that encourage creative thinking and the ideation and selection of new solutions can be the most effective in organisational change. Give the How-Now-Wow Matrix a go, and not just for how pleasant it is to say out loud. 

How-Now-Wow Matrix   #gamestorming   #idea generation   #remote-friendly   When people want to develop new ideas, they most often think out of the box in the brainstorming or divergent phase. However, when it comes to convergence, people often end up picking ideas that are most familiar to them. This is called a ‘creative paradox’ or a ‘creadox’. The How-Now-Wow matrix is an idea selection tool that breaks the creadox by forcing people to weigh each idea on 2 parameters.

26. Impact and Effort Matrix

All problem-solving techniques hope to not only find solutions to a given problem or challenge but to find the best solution. When it comes to finding a solution, groups are invited to put on their decision-making hats and really think about how a proposed idea would work in practice. 

The Impact and Effort Matrix is one of the problem-solving techniques that fall into this camp, empowering participants to first generate ideas and then categorize them into a 2×2 matrix based on impact and effort.

Activities that invite critical thinking while remaining simple are invaluable. Use the Impact and Effort Matrix to move from ideation and towards evaluating potential solutions before then committing to them. 

Impact and Effort Matrix   #gamestorming   #decision making   #action   #remote-friendly   In this decision-making exercise, possible actions are mapped based on two factors: effort required to implement and potential impact. Categorizing ideas along these lines is a useful technique in decision making, as it obliges contributors to balance and evaluate suggested actions before committing to them.

27. Dotmocracy

If you’ve followed each of the problem-solving steps with your group successfully, you should move towards the end of your process with heaps of possible solutions developed with a specific problem in mind. But how do you help a group go from ideation to putting a solution into action? 

Dotmocracy – or Dot Voting -is a tried and tested method of helping a team in the problem-solving process make decisions and put actions in place with a degree of oversight and consensus. 

One of the problem-solving techniques that should be in every facilitator’s toolbox, Dot Voting is fast and effective and can help identify the most popular and best solutions and help bring a group to a decision effectively. 

Dotmocracy   #action   #decision making   #group prioritization   #hyperisland   #remote-friendly   Dotmocracy is a simple method for group prioritization or decision-making. It is not an activity on its own, but a method to use in processes where prioritization or decision-making is the aim. The method supports a group to quickly see which options are most popular or relevant. The options or ideas are written on post-its and stuck up on a wall for the whole group to see. Each person votes for the options they think are the strongest, and that information is used to inform a decision.

All facilitators know that warm-ups and icebreakers are useful for any workshop or group process. Problem-solving workshops are no different.

Use these problem-solving techniques to warm up a group and prepare them for the rest of the process. Activating your group by tapping into some of the top problem-solving skills can be one of the best ways to see great outcomes from your session.

  • Check-in/Check-out
  • Doodling Together
  • Show and Tell
  • Constellations
  • Draw a Tree

28. Check-in / Check-out

Solid processes are planned from beginning to end, and the best facilitators know that setting the tone and establishing a safe, open environment can be integral to a successful problem-solving process.

Check-in / Check-out is a great way to begin and/or bookend a problem-solving workshop. Checking in to a session emphasizes that everyone will be seen, heard, and expected to contribute. 

If you are running a series of meetings, setting a consistent pattern of checking in and checking out can really help your team get into a groove. We recommend this opening-closing activity for small to medium-sized groups though it can work with large groups if they’re disciplined!

Check-in / Check-out   #team   #opening   #closing   #hyperisland   #remote-friendly   Either checking-in or checking-out is a simple way for a team to open or close a process, symbolically and in a collaborative way. Checking-in/out invites each member in a group to be present, seen and heard, and to express a reflection or a feeling. Checking-in emphasizes presence, focus and group commitment; checking-out emphasizes reflection and symbolic closure.

29. Doodling Together  

Thinking creatively and not being afraid to make suggestions are important problem-solving skills for any group or team, and warming up by encouraging these behaviors is a great way to start. 

Doodling Together is one of our favorite creative ice breaker games – it’s quick, effective, and fun and can make all following problem-solving steps easier by encouraging a group to collaborate visually. By passing cards and adding additional items as they go, the workshop group gets into a groove of co-creation and idea development that is crucial to finding solutions to problems. 

Doodling Together   #collaboration   #creativity   #teamwork   #fun   #team   #visual methods   #energiser   #icebreaker   #remote-friendly   Create wild, weird and often funny postcards together & establish a group’s creative confidence.

30. Show and Tell

You might remember some version of Show and Tell from being a kid in school and it’s a great problem-solving activity to kick off a session.

Asking participants to prepare a little something before a workshop by bringing an object for show and tell can help them warm up before the session has even begun! Games that include a physical object can also help encourage early engagement before moving onto more big-picture thinking.

By asking your participants to tell stories about why they chose to bring a particular item to the group, you can help teams see things from new perspectives and see both differences and similarities in the way they approach a topic. Great groundwork for approaching a problem-solving process as a team! 

Show and Tell   #gamestorming   #action   #opening   #meeting facilitation   Show and Tell taps into the power of metaphors to reveal players’ underlying assumptions and associations around a topic The aim of the game is to get a deeper understanding of stakeholders’ perspectives on anything—a new project, an organizational restructuring, a shift in the company’s vision or team dynamic.

31. Constellations

Who doesn’t love stars? Constellations is a great warm-up activity for any workshop as it gets people up off their feet, energized, and ready to engage in new ways with established topics. It’s also great for showing existing beliefs, biases, and patterns that can come into play as part of your session.

Using warm-up games that help build trust and connection while also allowing for non-verbal responses can be great for easing people into the problem-solving process and encouraging engagement from everyone in the group. Constellations is great in large spaces that allow for movement and is definitely a practical exercise to allow the group to see patterns that are otherwise invisible. 

Constellations   #trust   #connection   #opening   #coaching   #patterns   #system   Individuals express their response to a statement or idea by standing closer or further from a central object. Used with teams to reveal system, hidden patterns, perspectives.

32. Draw a Tree

Problem-solving games that help raise group awareness through a central, unifying metaphor can be effective ways to warm-up a group in any problem-solving model.

Draw a Tree is a simple warm-up activity you can use in any group and which can provide a quick jolt of energy. Start by asking your participants to draw a tree in just 45 seconds – they can choose whether it will be abstract or realistic. 

Once the timer is up, ask the group how many people included the roots of the tree and use this as a means to discuss how we can ignore important parts of any system simply because they are not visible.

All problem-solving strategies are made more effective by thinking of problems critically and by exposing things that may not normally come to light. Warm-up games like Draw a Tree are great in that they quickly demonstrate some key problem-solving skills in an accessible and effective way.

Draw a Tree   #thiagi   #opening   #perspectives   #remote-friendly   With this game you can raise awarness about being more mindful, and aware of the environment we live in.

Each step of the problem-solving workshop benefits from an intelligent deployment of activities, games, and techniques. Bringing your session to an effective close helps ensure that solutions are followed through on and that you also celebrate what has been achieved.

Here are some problem-solving activities you can use to effectively close a workshop or meeting and ensure the great work you’ve done can continue afterward.

  • One Breath Feedback
  • Who What When Matrix
  • Response Cards

How do I conclude a problem-solving process?

All good things must come to an end. With the bulk of the work done, it can be tempting to conclude your workshop swiftly and without a moment to debrief and align. This can be problematic in that it doesn’t allow your team to fully process the results or reflect on the process.

At the end of an effective session, your team will have gone through a process that, while productive, can be exhausting. It’s important to give your group a moment to take a breath, ensure that they are clear on future actions, and provide short feedback before leaving the space. 

The primary purpose of any problem-solving method is to generate solutions and then implement them. Be sure to take the opportunity to ensure everyone is aligned and ready to effectively implement the solutions you produced in the workshop.

Remember that every process can be improved and by giving a short moment to collect feedback in the session, you can further refine your problem-solving methods and see further success in the future too.

33. One Breath Feedback

Maintaining attention and focus during the closing stages of a problem-solving workshop can be tricky and so being concise when giving feedback can be important. It’s easy to incur “death by feedback” should some team members go on for too long sharing their perspectives in a quick feedback round. 

One Breath Feedback is a great closing activity for workshops. You give everyone an opportunity to provide feedback on what they’ve done but only in the space of a single breath. This keeps feedback short and to the point and means that everyone is encouraged to provide the most important piece of feedback to them. 

One breath feedback   #closing   #feedback   #action   This is a feedback round in just one breath that excels in maintaining attention: each participants is able to speak during just one breath … for most people that’s around 20 to 25 seconds … unless of course you’ve been a deep sea diver in which case you’ll be able to do it for longer.

34. Who What When Matrix 

Matrices feature as part of many effective problem-solving strategies and with good reason. They are easily recognizable, simple to use, and generate results.

The Who What When Matrix is a great tool to use when closing your problem-solving session by attributing a who, what and when to the actions and solutions you have decided upon. The resulting matrix is a simple, easy-to-follow way of ensuring your team can move forward. 

Great solutions can’t be enacted without action and ownership. Your problem-solving process should include a stage for allocating tasks to individuals or teams and creating a realistic timeframe for those solutions to be implemented or checked out. Use this method to keep the solution implementation process clear and simple for all involved. 

Who/What/When Matrix   #gamestorming   #action   #project planning   With Who/What/When matrix, you can connect people with clear actions they have defined and have committed to.

35. Response cards

Group discussion can comprise the bulk of most problem-solving activities and by the end of the process, you might find that your team is talked out! 

Providing a means for your team to give feedback with short written notes can ensure everyone is head and can contribute without the need to stand up and talk. Depending on the needs of the group, giving an alternative can help ensure everyone can contribute to your problem-solving model in the way that makes the most sense for them.

Response Cards is a great way to close a workshop if you are looking for a gentle warm-down and want to get some swift discussion around some of the feedback that is raised. 

Response Cards   #debriefing   #closing   #structured sharing   #questions and answers   #thiagi   #action   It can be hard to involve everyone during a closing of a session. Some might stay in the background or get unheard because of louder participants. However, with the use of Response Cards, everyone will be involved in providing feedback or clarify questions at the end of a session.

Save time and effort discovering the right solutions

A structured problem solving process is a surefire way of solving tough problems, discovering creative solutions and driving organizational change. But how can you design for successful outcomes?

With SessionLab, it’s easy to design engaging workshops that deliver results. Drag, drop and reorder blocks  to build your agenda. When you make changes or update your agenda, your session  timing   adjusts automatically , saving you time on manual adjustments.

Collaborating with stakeholders or clients? Share your agenda with a single click and collaborate in real-time. No more sending documents back and forth over email.

Explore  how to use SessionLab  to design effective problem solving workshops or  watch this five minute video  to see the planner in action!

other skills like problem solving

Over to you

The problem-solving process can often be as complicated and multifaceted as the problems they are set-up to solve. With the right problem-solving techniques and a mix of creative exercises designed to guide discussion and generate purposeful ideas, we hope we’ve given you the tools to find the best solutions as simply and easily as possible.

Is there a problem-solving technique that you are missing here? Do you have a favorite activity or method you use when facilitating? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you! 

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thank you very much for these excellent techniques

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Certainly wonderful article, very detailed. Shared!

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Your list of techniques for problem solving can be helpfully extended by adding TRIZ to the list of techniques. TRIZ has 40 problem solving techniques derived from methods inventros and patent holders used to get new patents. About 10-12 are general approaches. many organization sponsor classes in TRIZ that are used to solve business problems or general organiztational problems. You can take a look at TRIZ and dwonload a free internet booklet to see if you feel it shound be included per your selection process.

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WEDNESDAY PUZZLE — Over the centuries, English speakers have come up with several creative ways of avoiding vulgarity. Minced oaths are euphemistically rendered expressions of profanity or obscenity that gained popularity among playwrights of the Elizabethan era. Bowdlerization began a few hundred years later, when a well-meaning couple sought to make Shakespeare more family-friendly. And today, the teens use algospeak to avoid censors on TikTok, often using emojis in place of words.

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37A. The sneaky “Capital of Georgia?” refers to the state’s (or country’s) capitalized first letter, phonetically written: GEE.

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  1. 7 Problem Solving Skills That Aren't Just Buzzwords (+ Examples)

    Collaboration. Having a growth mindset. In short, understanding, developing, and showcasing these skills, can greatly boost your chances at getting noticed by the hiring managers. So, don't hesitate and start working on your problem-solving skills right now! 0.

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  3. What Are Problem-Solving Skills? Definitions and Examples

    Although problem-solving is often identified as its own separate skill, there are other related skills that contribute to this ability. Some key problem-solving skills include: Active listening. Analysis. Research. Creativity. Communication. Decision-making. Team-building.

  4. A guide to problem-solving techniques, steps, and skills

    The 7 steps to problem-solving. When it comes to problem-solving there are seven key steps that you should follow: define the problem, disaggregate, prioritize problem branches, create an analysis plan, conduct analysis, synthesis, and communication. 1. Define the problem. Problem-solving begins with a clear understanding of the issue at hand.

  5. What Are Problem-Solving Skills? (Examples Included)

    While any related skills are worth highlighting, some may get you further than others. Analysis, research, creativity, collaboration, organization, and decision-making are all biggies. With those skills, you can work through the entire problem-solving process, making them worthwhile additions to your resume.

  6. Problem-Solving Skills: What They Are and How to Improve Yours

    Problem-solving skills defined. Problem-solving skills are skills that allow individuals to efficiently and effectively find solutions to issues. This attribute is a primary skill that employers look for in job candidates and is essential in a variety of careers. This skill is considered to be a soft skill, or an individual strength, as opposed ...

  7. Problem-Solving Strategies: Definition and 5 Techniques to Try

    In general, effective problem-solving strategies include the following steps: Define the problem. Come up with alternative solutions. Decide on a solution. Implement the solution. Problem-solving ...

  8. Problem Solving: Definition, Skills, & Strategies

    Problem-solving is an important skill to develop because life will always throw you curveballs. Being able to respond to these problems with flexibility and calmness will generate much better results than if you respond to the problem with resistance or avoidance. Also, research has shown that increasing problem-solving skills through problem-solving therapy is beneficial for several physical ...

  9. Problem-Solving Strategies and Obstacles

    Problem-solving is a vital skill for coping with various challenges in life. This webpage explains the different strategies and obstacles that can affect how you solve problems, and offers tips on how to improve your problem-solving skills. Learn how to identify, analyze, and overcome problems with Verywell Mind.

  10. Problem Solving Skills

    Decision Making. Problem solving and decision making are closely related skills, and making a decision is an important part of the problem solving process as you will often be faced with various options and alternatives. See Decision Making for more. The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is ...

  11. What Are Problem-Solving Skills? Definition and Examples

    Employers looking for problem-solving skills might include the word "problem-solving" or other synonyms like "critical thinking" or "analytical skills" in the job description. "I would add 'buzzwords' you can find from the job descriptions or LinkedIn endorsements section to filter into your resume to comply with the ATS ...

  12. How to improve your problem solving skills and strategies

    6. Solution implementation. This is what we were waiting for! All problem solving strategies have the end goal of implementing a solution and solving a problem in mind. Remember that in order for any solution to be successful, you need to help your group through all of the previous problem solving steps thoughtfully.

  13. Your Guide to Problem-Solving Skills at Work

    "Problem-solving skills are skills that allow you to identify and define a situation that needs changing," says Doug Noll, an attorney and adjunct faculty member at the Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University's Caruso School of Law, where he teaches graduate-level classes in decision-making and problem-solving.Once you identify what needs changing, problem-solving ...

  14. 7 Best Problem-Solving Skills for Your Resume + Examples

    Employers like to see good problem-solving skills because it also shows them you have a range of other talents, like logic, creativity, resilience, imagination, and lateral thinking. Looking for problem-solving skills in a job description. Sometimes, a job description will plainly state the problem-solving skills that the job requires. More ...

  15. How to List Problem-Solving Skills on a Resume [List Included]

    Then, add the problem-solving skills that you have and that are required in the job under your resume's "Soft Skills" section. #3. Prove Your Problem-Solving Skills In Your Work Experience Section. Finally, you should use the work experience section to prove that you've got the problem-solving skills you've mentioned throughout your ...

  16. How To Include Problem-Solving Skills on Your Resume

    For example, when explaining your ability to problem solve, it helps to provide examples in addition to listing the skill on your resume. Here are a few ways you can highlight problem-solving skills on a resume: 1. Mention them in your work history section. When writing your work history, mention times when your problem-solving skills made a ...

  17. What Are Problem-Solving Skills? (Definition, Examples, And ...

    Summary. Problem-solving skills include analysis, creativity, prioritization, organization, and troubleshooting. To solve a problem, you need to use a variety of skills based on the needs of the situation. Most jobs essentially boil down to identifying and solving problems consistently and effectively. That's why employers value problem ...

  18. 8+ Top Problem Solving Skills for Your Resume

    Here are three ways to develop strong problem solving skills: 1. Get outside of your comfort zone. Opportunities for problem solving often occur when we challenge ourselves and try something new. Take a course at your local university, volunteer for a good cause in your area, or get involved in a new project at work for opportunities to apply ...

  19. Problem-solving skills: definitions and examples

    Whilst problem-solving is often identified as a separate skill, there are other related skills that contribute to this ability. These skills include the following: Active listening. Analysis. Research. Creativity. Communication. Time-management. Decision making.

  20. 35 problem-solving techniques and methods for solving complex problems

    Like all problem-solving frameworks, Six Thinking Hats is effective at helping teams remove roadblocks from a conversation or discussion and come to terms with all the aspects necessary to solve complex problems. ... One of the most useful problem solving skills you can teach your team is of approaching challenges with creativity, flexibility ...

  21. Synonyms for Problem-solving skills

    501 other terms for problem-solving skills- words and phrases with similar meaning. Lists. synonyms. antonyms. definitions. sentences. thesaurus. words. phrases. suggest new. ability to cope with problems. ability to resolve. ability to solve problems. abstract abilities. analytical mindset. analytical powers.

  22. 26 Expert-Backed Problem Solving Examples

    The example interview responses are structured using the STAR method and are categorized into the top 5 key problem-solving skills recruiters look for in a candidate. 1. Analytical Thinking. Situation: In my previous role as a data analyst, our team encountered a significant drop in website traffic.

  23. 15 Impressive Traits Of People Who Are Natural Problem Solvers

    Here's 15 remarkable traits that define natural problem solvers and help them excel in finding solutions to complex issues. 1. They're extremely resilient. Natural problem solvers are resilient people. They bounce back from setbacks with determination and a positive attitude, seeing challenges as opportunities to learn and grow.

  24. 8 Skills to Learn for a More Productive and Fulfilling Work Life

    Luckily, negotiation is a skill that can be learned just like any other. In it, you understand the expectations of the other party, communicate your own, and then find a match between the two to reach an agreement. ... The 6 Best Apps to Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills Want to improve your problem-solving skills and become more solution ...

  25. Sensory Analysis: Tips to Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills

    Learn how to solve sensory problems more effectively and efficiently as a food scientist. Discover tips to choose the right method, analyze the data, and communicate the findings.

  26. Addressing Workforce Gaps through Adult Education

    Competency-based education measures skills and learning rather than time spent in a classroom. Students earn competency units (the equivalent of credit hours) when they demonstrate their skills through completing assessments. ... 4 Jobs for People Who Like Problem-Solving. Dive into careers ideal for problem-solving enthusiasts. Explore these ...

  27. Revolutionizing Career Readiness: The Role of Tech in Work-Based

    Take a look at other articles from WGU. Our articles feature information on a wide variety of subjects, written with the help of subject matter experts and researchers who are well-versed in their industries. ... 4 Jobs for People Who Like Problem-Solving. Dive into careers ideal for problem-solving enthusiasts. Explore these critical thinking ...

  28. Top Team Building Activities for Problem-Solving Skills

    Escape rooms are a popular team building activity that puts problem-solving skills to the test. In an escape room, your team is locked in a themed room and must find clues, solve puzzles, and ...

  29. For elephants, like people, greetings are a complicated affair

    Elephants, Earth's largest land animals, are highly intelligent, with keen memory and problem-solving skills and sophisticated communication. Female elephants of different family groups might have ...

  30. NYT Crossword Answers for May 8, 2024

    Improve Your Crossword Solving. Work your way through our guide, "How to Solve the New York Times Crossword." It contains an explanation of most of the types of clues you will see in the ...