problem solving tips for assistants

3 Stages to Problem Solving for Administrative and Executive Assistants

No doubt you face problems on a daily basis. They can be as small as a printer jam or as big as your executive’s international trip is turning into a disaster due to bad weather.

There are many methods people use to solve problems such as mind-mapping or brainstorming. But for larger issues or problems, you have to have a process to be more successful at making the right decision.

This is called a Step Method and you follow it as outlined below. If you use the steps out of order, it will not have the same impact. I hope this helps you and if you have any suggestions as to what works really well for you when faced with a problem, please share with me.

Stage I: Recognition is being aware and cognizant a problem exists. This can also be something such as an administrative process you use 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.

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.

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.

Follow these steps when working with bigger issues or problems or even if you are trying to come up with new ideas or ways of doing something better.

Joan Burge



Like this article? Share it!

Share on linkedin
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest

3 thoughts on “3 Stages to Problem Solving for Administrative and Executive Assistants”

  1. Hmm… Although this is a nice list, would like a few examples – would make the article much better. It’s easy to state a process, but hard to apply it. And 5-10 solutions is an overkill. It’s better to have a mind that finds as much solutions possible, but even if you only find three, three good ones is better than 10 made up ones.

    Honestly, I don’t like these types of approaches, but it’s probably only me. Following this steps won’t necessarily get you an answer. Problem solving is a technique, note something you can learn. I’d rather you highlighted some important parts of it than give a step by step. This is the reason people don’t like corporations.

    Having procedures really is necessary, but the true value of one comes when people understand why each step is there. It’s much more important to know how to understand issues and goals, than to create a ton of would be solutions.

    I would add goals to the list. Admin goals are probably easier to handle, but it’s really vital that the goals are realistic and laid out, only then you can find a good process that tries to grab the said goals.

    I do apologise for the negativity in my response, it’s not focused towards the author:)

    1. Excellent response and I agree adding goals that are realistic and laid out would simplify also understanding is key!

  2. I find that it is helpful that others have the same challenge, for example a machine that tends to fade in color every few pages or so within a large printing. That way you don’t seem like you are the only one with that issue and it tends to get fixed faster, etc…taken more seriously.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top

Join Our Administrative Community

Join a community of administrative professionals who have taken advantage of our free career development tools. You will receive FREE ACCESS to Webinars, Monday Motivators, Special Discounts, Email Announcements, and much more!
By filling out this form and clicking submit, I agree to receive emails from Office Dynamics International. You may unsubscribe at any time from the bottom of our emails.