How to Identify the Real Issue

One method for problem solving is to look at the real issue that needs to be confronted. We often try to find solutions that will help get us out of a situation fast. You might want the quick fix or an easy alternative so that less effort is required. However, if you do try to take shortcuts, it can end up hindering your ability to find a positive solution in the end.

Sometimes, the person making the decision doesn’t want to have to admit that they’re wrong. Maybe it’s a spouse, a boss, or someone else that refuses to accept responsibility for the outcome. What can you do to help get to the root of the issue? How can you find a solution without having to make them feel bad or prove them wrong in the first place?

It is important to train your brain to go directly to the core. Always ask “Why?” Go through the normal questions of who, what, where, when and why. Dig deeper and use your critical thinking skills to get you to the real problem that’s hidden underneath it all. Think of the last time you had two friends fighting. They might have fought over something small, maybe one was rude to the other, or perhaps there was a little misunderstanding. Between two average individuals, maybe it’s not a big deal, but these friends might have blown things out of proportion. Part of this is because there was likely a deeper issue hidden underneath the rest that made everything feel worse than what it was.

To understand how to make the best decisions and come up with the greatest solutions for certain problems, you can use a root-cause analysis. As an example, we are going to use the idea of someone that struggled to lose weight because the diets they have tried never worked.

First, identify what the issue is at face value. What is the most basic understanding of the problem? In our example, it is that someone struggles to lose weight.

Share this problem with someone else. Discuss it and gain a different perspective. In this example, the person that wants to lose weight might talk to a doctor, nutritionist, or even someone else that shares their struggles.

Look at all the things that could have caused or influenced this issue. This is when thinking becomes deeper. In this example, they struggle because they suffer from anxiety. Their mother was very hard on them about losing weight. They use food as a source of comfort. Exercising is difficult for them.

Come up with a few different solutions. At this point, you can see the many different causes; therefore, you can develop different solutions. In this example, you might talk to a professional about overcoming anxiety so the emotional eating stops, and they can work through issues with their mother. A better exercise routine can be presented as well.

Decide if this was the right thing to do. After this analysis has happened and a solution is chosen, it’s time to implement the strategy. The person trying to lose weight can see a therapist and sign up for a yoga class.

Fix and prepare anything else needed for this process. This is when you would reflect and determine if the best course of action had been taken. If weight loss is occurring, then the right solution was found. If no weight loss is happening, it’s time to dig deeper or try out a new solution.


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