What jobs require excellent problem solving skills

Problem solver: These 4 characteristics distinguish you

A typical boss sentence: I don't want problems, I want solutions! There is only one small problem with the problems: solving them is usually extremely difficult, requiring more than the push of a button, but effort and dedication. What distinguishes problem solvers? Among other things, these four attributes ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Problem solvers create new things

In order to cope with everyday tasks, we usually use methods that are already known. Tasks therefore “only” require reproductive thinking. On the other hand, if you want to solve problems, you have to create something completely new. Problem solvers think ahead. The theoretical construct goes back to the German psychologist Dietrich Dörner. Solving problems is more than routine, this is the more stringent variant, the supreme discipline.

That from the US psychologist John Bransford and his colleagues Sherwood and Sturdevan, the IDEAL model shows how problems can be solved. The acronym stands for the following five phases of problem solving (corresponding to the first letter):

  • I.dentifying the existence of a problem
    In German, for example: Identifying or recognizing the problem.
  • D.efining the problem
    Define the problem by noting a discrepancy between the actual and the target state.
  • E.valuating available alternatives
    Evaluate the possible options and alternatives.
  • A.pplying the best alternative
    Apply the solution that appears best.
  • L.ooking back = evaluating the outcome
    Review of the effects and consequences.

Problem solver: They should be able to

Certain properties help on the way to the solution. For example these four ...

1. Simplicity

One often expects creative fireworks from problem solvers, the famous out-of-the-box thinking. Not always wrongly. But: Problem solving requires above all to concentrate on the obvious, to break things down. Example: A technical writer solves a problem by - with a lot of brainpower, planning and commitment - formulating demanding technical relationships as simply and clearly as possible. From this he makes a user manual that is understandable for everyone. Problem solved. A copywriter creates an original claim that emphasizes the greatest advantage of the advertised product, not spreading out every detail. Problem solved. Think complex, just solve. Keep it simple!

2. Persistence

Solve a problem: Just the word problem indicates that the solution will not just fall into your lap. That there will be setbacks, mistakes, misunderstandings, obstacles, frustration. With the so-called W-E-G-E method, they can be mastered, a goal can be achieved, a problem can be solved. It contains the building blocks: Really want, keep simple, prescribe completely, one at a time. In fact, computer games are good practice because the thinking and learning process works on the same principle here.

You have to devote yourself to the game Cope with one level after the other, mobilize all energy reserves, learn from mistakes and get closer to the solution of the problem - i.e. the final boss - step by step. If you give up too early, you won't win the game, you won't solve the problem. Incidentally, one of the building blocks of success: self-affirmation. Carnegie Mellon researchers have shown that small acts of self-affirmation - a brief reflection on one's own strengths, for example - noticeably improve the ability to solve problems, especially in stressful situations.

3. Analytics

Bransford's problem-solving model involves at least three steps that require analytical skills: identify a problem, define it, and consider and outline possible solutions. Only then does the implementation take place. Problem solvers are therefore not enforcers with crowbars in hand, not pure practitioners. They are - too - theorists. Problem solving requires preparation, follow-up, time, and patience. Also important in this context: being able to prioritize. What steps are required? Which one do I go first? Which variable is particularly important for the overall problem, which consequence do I want to avoid under all circumstances?

4. Flexibility

Proceed dogmatically according to the manual - that can also solve a problem. But only when it comes to putting a microwave into operation, for example. If different variables come together, however, the number of options and sources of error increases - similar to Rubik's Rubik's Cube: twice to the left, once to the right, back again and all over again. Important for problem solvers: Think laterally, that is, think outside the box, tear off old connections and create new ones. In other words, get off the beaten track, but be ready to come back to them at any time.

Present as a problem solver in the application

As mentioned at the beginning, companies are looking for such problem solvers everywhere. On the one hand, there is the profession of problem solver - management consultants are usually referred to as such. Their job is to find out where there is a problem and which processes can still be optimized. The term consultant still exists as a synonym for problem solver or management consultant.

In addition, companies expect but applicants generally have a certain hands-on mentality. The challenge is to present yourself plausibly as a problem solver in the application. A mere assertion in the cover letter is not enough. Rather, you should think about the problems and challenges you faced in your last job. Describe the problem-solving strategy you used. If you want to convince across the board, you should select examples that could also be relevant for your potential new employer.

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