problem solving tips for assistants

3 Stages to Problem Solving for Administrative and Executive Assistants

Problem-solving is a critical skill that we use on a daily basis, whether it’s dealing with a small issue like a printer jam or tackling a larger problem such as a major business crisis. While there are many methods, people use to solve problems, such as mind-mapping or brainstorming, having a structured process can be especially helpful when facing more complex issues. That’s where the Step Method comes in.

By following a series of steps in a logical order, you can increase your chances of finding the right solution and successfully resolving the problem. In this blog, we’ll outline the Step Method and provide tips and best practices for each stage of the process. Whether you’re a seasoned problem-solver or just starting out, we hope this will be a valuable resource for you.

Stage I: Recognition is being aware and cognizant that a problem exists. This can also be something such as an administrative process you use that no longer works.

  1. Identify the problem or issue.
  2. Clearly state the problem or issue.
  3. Gather as much background information as possible or facts to support the issue at hand.
  4. List negative effects.
  5. Assemble relevant information.
  6. Write five to ten possible solutions.

Tips and Best Practices

  • Be open to the possibility that a problem exists. Sometimes we may be so used to a certain way of doing things that we don’t realize there’s a better solution out there.
  • Gather as much information as possible about the problem. This includes talking to others who may have experienced the problem, researching online, and reviewing any relevant data or documents.
  • Clearly state the problem in a way that is specific and measurable. This will help you and others understand the issue more clearly and come up with solutions that address the root cause of the problem.

Stage 2:  Identify the Solution by coming up with several options.

  1. List the positive or negative outcomes of each possible solution.
  2. Select the best one.

Tips and Best Practices

  • Brainstorm a list of possible solutions. Don’t worry about evaluating the solutions at this stage – just come up with as many ideas as possible.
  • Consider the positive and negative outcomes of each solution. This will help you narrow down your options and choose the best one.
  • Select the solution that seems to have the most potential for success and that addresses the root cause of the problem.

Stage 3: Implementation

  1. Consider how you will present this information to those involved: communication style; format (verbal, written); timing.
  2. Implement your idea.
  3. Evaluate the outcome.
  4. Adjust as necessary and try again.
  5. If necessary, try a different solution.

Tips and Best Practices

  • Communicate the solution to those who need to know. Use a clear and concise communication style, and consider the best format (verbal, written, etc.) and timing for the message.
  • Implement the solution. This may involve taking specific actions, changing processes or systems, or communicating with others.
  • Evaluate the outcome. Check to see if the solution has been effective in solving the problem. If it hasn’t, consider adjusting the solution or trying a different one.

Thanks for reading about the Step Method for solving problems. We hope you’ve found this information helpful and that you’ll consider using this structured approach the next time you’re faced with a problem. Remember to follow the steps in order, gather as much information as possible, and consider the positive and negative outcomes of each solution. And don’t forget to share your own experiences and techniques for solving problems in the comments – we’d love to hear from you!

If you found this information useful, we encourage you to share it with your colleagues and friends. You never know who might benefit from this structured approach to problem-solving.

Joan Burge


Are you ready to take your career to the next level and become a top-performing assistant? The World Class Assistant Certification and Designation course by Office Dynamics International is the perfect way to do it! This comprehensive program is designed specifically for administrative professionals, and it covers all the skills and knowledge you need to excel in your role. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to invest in yourself and your career – enroll in the World Class Assistant Certification and Designation course today!


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