As anyone can see, "problem solving" is a broad topic. In the context of this website and our services, problem solving is seen in two different approaches. First, when we are trying to solve someone else's problems, and secondly when we are training, counseling, and mentoring one of our clients to improve their problem solving abilities.
When training others, we steer the learning process to center on adopting a "problem solving strategy" that is very similar to the strategy we use when solving problems in their stead. What we have found in addressing the many and various types of problems seen by our clients is a need to be good at a skeletal process that maintains consistency and a competent skill level while also allowing for customization for the specifics of each new problem or situation.
The skeletal strategy employs basic fundamentals like situational assessment, root causation, goals/objectives clarification, obvious options, hidden options, options path assessment, comparative process mapping, comprehensive outcome analysis, options weighting, optimal choice selection, detailed completion description, project path creation, project management, project completion, completion comparison against desired outcome, detailed adjustments, final completion, post-completion solution assessment, total process assessment, total process improvement recommendations, training development to include new lessons learned, training delivered, and finally - training assessed for effectiveness to improve the problem solving process.
Whether solving a client's problem or coaching them on how to improve their own problem solving processes, the focus needs to be on strengthening the process - NOT solving one problem. If a company is not getting better at solving its problems it is doomed to be mired in lesser work. For example, if a baker is burning the bread loaves, and then over-stuffing the doughnuts, the problem to be solved may be a training issue. Training issues can be solved internally or externally depending on available resources.
Causational analysis can proactively reduce and even remove future problems. Maybe employees aren't taught well enough, maybe the equipment is sup-par, or maybe cheaper suppliers are failing to deliver on time. We seek to solve both the obvious as well as the root problems to keep you on the path that is leading to your success.