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



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