Acquiring Impressive Problem-Solving Skills In 6 Steps

Leaders are often faced with recurring issues in their personal and in their professional lives.

On a daily basis, they fight to retain talent, to keep their businesses alive, to keep up with the market, to increase their return on investment, to deal with clients, to evolve and to encourage growth.

Problems arise when there is a discrepancy between reality and expectations, when leaders are unable to successfully reach their goals.

Their ability to anticipate and to solve problems will determine their success and will increase their chances for promotion.

Wondering how to acquire problem-solving skills?

Acquiring Impressive Problem-Solving Skills In 6 Steps

What is problem-solving?

Problem-solving is a cognitive skill that is useful in challenging, problematic and uncertain situations that require resolution.

Problem-solving is uncomfortable, takes time, requires practice and need constant monitoring. This intuitive skill is also sharpened by mistakes and failures.

Furthermore, problems encourage growth and change in us. That is why problem-solving requires facing inner demons.

It also helps us acquire innovative skills, people skills, communication skills, data gathering, conflict management and analytical skills.

How to actually solve problems?

Problem-solving gives leaders the opportunity to deal with change, to handle conflict, to delegate, to humbly ask for help.

Leaders who are unable to effectively solve problems lack knowledge in their respective fields, don’t establish practical methods, don’t commit to one solution, fail to implement their vision or to understand the problem all together.

STEP #1 Work on your character

You cannot control most of the situations that you will face in life. However, you can control how you react to them. It is therefore necessary to work on your character and to:

  1. Know yourself, trust your intuition and understand that your ideas are valuable.
  2. Be mindful that problems arise every day and that you cannot solve everything all at once.
  3. Write down all the rules and core values that guide you so you can remember them in time of need.
  4. Be open-minded, explore other fields than your own and to frequent people from other industries.
  5. Educate yourself on your business. Read books and articles on your field.
  6. Avoid jumping to conclusions. Challenge your assumptions before you restrict your opportunities
  7. Be patient but take action before it’s too late and before the opportunity expires.
  8. Pay attention to other people’s opinion but don’t worry too much about the naysayers.
  9. Admit if you have made a mistake. Great leaders are able to face issues without shifting blame and shifting values.
  10. Embrace change and avoid criticizing new ideas.
  11. Welcome failure. Don’t beat yourself up or don’t blame yourself for failure. Most successes or most innovations have broken through from failures.

STEP #2 Defining & Understanding the problem

Problems are synonymous with difficulty, issue, trouble, worry, complication, obstacle or setback. Problems trigger fight or flight response when handling a problematic situations.

There is no need to immediately appear decisive or to impress people. You must first define and understand the problem:

  1. Get the information about the problem.
  2. Identify the complexity, the symptoms, effects and root causes of the problem.
  3. Take time to reflect on your situation and to observe.
  4. Talk to the people implicated in the situation.
  5. Look for patterns and for trends.
  6. Find analogies to your situation that can help spark ideas.
  7. Reverse the problem: find the opposite problem or envision a worse problem.

STEP #3 Solutioning

Anticipating problems is the best option. But, the key is to staying focused or finding a solution. You must be able to study all the possible solutions of the problem:

  1. Explore all ideas even if you think that they won’t work.
  2. Suggest solutions that would make the problem worse.
  3. Think about your past experiences when you have been put in sticky situations. It can be a conflict with your coworkers, It can be a discussion with your clients or situations with your family.
  4. Look at what is being done by experts and evaluate the opposite solution.
  5. Ask for help from people around you. You can use brainstorming, mind mapping or road mapping techniques.
  6. Remove yourself from the situation to clear your mind and gain a different perspective.
  7. Break down the situation into simpler components.
  8. Write down pros and cons of the solutions.
  9. Clarify the criteria that your solution must meet.
  10. Test the feasibility of the solution.
  11. Organize your thoughts and pick the solution that will maximize your return.

STEP #4 Making a decision

When you have evaluated all the solutions, it’s time to make a decision. One decision is better than none.

  1. Look up the “unwritten rules that you are about to break before making a decision.
  2. Weigh in the consequences of your decisions. Rapid decisions can have serious implications, especially if you are a leader. So, be aware of the economic, social, political challenges of your decisions.
  3. Luckily, the leader does not have to resolve every problem on their own. To make better decisions, involve your team in the decision-making process. However, the final decisions is up to you.
  4. Seek to solve the problem long-term.
  5. Take the necessary time to make the right decision. You don’t need to impress or to act fast, you need to act right.

STEP #5 Executing the decision

After finding the perfect solution and making your decision, start implementing it:

  1. Set goals and deadlines that align with your goals.
  2. Keep your goals in mind.
  3. Focus on the outcomes of the solution and visualize the best scenario.

STEP #6 Measuring your progress & Monitoring the problem

Unfortunately, problems don’t solve themselves and can grow as time passes by. If the roots of the problem still persist:

  1. Assess the impact of your current decision.
  2. Reward yourself if your solution is bringing positive results.
  3. If your plan doesn’t work, cut the losses and get back up.
  4. Ask for additional help. 
  5. Execute your plan B if you have one. Revisit the problem, start over the solving process otherwise.
  6. Take a break before moving on to the next problem.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

Getting Promoted At Work — 32 Easy Strategies To Take Control Of Your Career

Getting a promotion is a long and complex process that can trigger your innermost insecurities. Therefore, it requires a lot of internal and external work. 

Furthermore, getting promoted involves being willing to take risks, changing your bad habits, increasing self-awareness, improving your behavior, being able to compete for a position, being committed to a goal and to an organization.

Wondering how to take control of your career, get a pay raise, get promoted, or move on to a new successful career?

Getting Promoted At Work

To be promoted, you have to make yourself valuable and bring success to your organization. Promotion comes from a need to:

  • Be recognized.
  • Take on new responsibilities.
  • Gain more influence, more authority, more respect and more credibility.
  • Get a pay raise.
  • Learn new skills.
  • Have greater impact on your organization.
  • Acquire a higher sense of achievement, of job satisfaction.

You must pursue a promotion for the right reasons.

Indeed, if you decide to go after a proportion for the money, for a feeling of superiority, for an ego boost, for revenge purposes, you will not last long in the position.

  • Be mindful of the impact of your promotion. Measure the changes that the promotion will brig and if you will be able to handle them, if your time and health will be jeopardized, if your priorities will be rearranged, your relationships repurposed, your commitments denied, if there will be more power plays and more politics. Establishing the pros and cons of the promotions will clarify the reasons why you are pursuing a promotion.
  • Identify your ideal position, ideal boss, career path and compare it to the promotion.
  • Do your homework on the promotion, identify the required standards of your promotion then demonstrate that you meet the requirements for the new position.

How to get promoted?

To get promoted, you must get noticed for the right reasons. It is necessary to build your brand from day one. As soon as you leave your house, you have to be mindful of your behavior, your appearance, your words and your brand.

To maximize your potential, to build your brand and to finally get that promotion:

  1. Stay prepared for success. Stay focused and competent at your job, meet your goals and deadlines, remember that experience will build up your credibility.
  2. Present yourself in the best light possible. Mind your image and your grooming. Your style says a lot about you and is your first representative.
  3. Decide what yo want to be known for and guard your reputation with your life. Remain professional at all times when at work, stay away from drama, don’t gossip and mind what you say to others.
  4. Understand that you must establish your identity and your self-worth outside of your career and your job description.
  5. Lead by example and establish a code of conduct for yourself.
  6. Learn to be patient and to slowly reap what you sow.
  7. Find out what matters most to you, keep commitments to yourself and to others, create a vision board, repeat positive affirmations if you have to, set goals and review them daily.
  8. Temper your desire to speak out, to speak first and to speak the loudest. Keep your message brief all the time. Avoid talking just to fill the silence and avoid small talk if you are incapable of handling it.
  9. Speak clearly, control your voice tone, pitch, pace, diction and intonations. Also, be careful of the words that are coming out of your mouth. Stay positive in your delivery and never use the word “no”.
  10. Listen not with the intent to reply but the desire to understand, with the desire to read between the lines, to take real interest in what people are saying and to be empathetic.
  11. Pay attention to the unspoken language, gestures. Remember that talk is cheap, that actions speak louder than words. On your side, make sure that you keep eye contact during conversation.
  12. Learn to rely on your gut, on your instincts, on your common sense.
  13. Boost your leadership self-esteem from time to time.
  14. Be confident in your abilities, know your strengths and weaknesses, be open to learnConfidence will help you develop your presence and command respect. Besides, don’t allow your strengths that have gotten you noticed so far be the reasons of your demise, of your career derailment.
  15. Stay authentic to be able to build relationships.
  16. Keep your integrity throughout the process. Don’t do things that you don’t want to do or you don’t think are right to do.
  17. Be a problem solver, taking into account the company culture and requirements. To every problem you bring to the forefront, find a solution to it. Anticipate issues, gain perspective, be responsive, adapt to different circumstances and learn to solve them before they show up. This will make you more reliable, more empathetic, will leave you two steps ahead. This will also get higher-ups to trust and respect you.
  18. Be flexible and organized.
  19. Show initiative and keep your motivation.
  20. Show that you can effectively manage conflicts and face challenge. Furthermore, learn to control your emotions to control your behavior, keep your composure in difficult times, stay optimistic and see pressure points as opportunities.
  21. Improve your communication style and learn to adapt  your style to different context.
  22. Keep the communication line open with your boss, inform him or her of your latest achievements and seek feedback. During performance reviews, mention your career goals, directly ask for a promotion or for more responsibilities for example.
  23. Take risks and don’t be afraid of failure. If you fail, turn a negative into a positive, learn from your mistakes, avoid dwelling on your past, avoid beating yourself up or blowing events out of proportion.
  24. Be accountable, correct past mistakes and avoid shifting blame.
  25. Understand the company culture, learn to deal with office politics. 
  26. Be loyal to your employer, have the best interest of your organization at heart and demonstrate your intentions.
  27. Take every opportunity to network and to build a list of contacts who can help you. To do so, master your people skills, discover how to sell yourself, treat every encounter like gold, do more favors than you ask for. Talk about your own achievements, your interests and motivations without overbearing your audience. However, don’t toot your own horn, don’t be desperate to make contact, don’t nag people, don’t focus too much on yourself  or else you will damage your relationships.
  28. Enter a mentorship program or find a mentor in your organization who can give you some advice and take your career to the next level.
  29. Volunteer for additional and interesting work outside of your position, for a position that you wish you had inside your organization.
  30. Attend training programs and seminars.
  31. Don’t try to please everyone. Respectability trumps likeability every single time.
  32. If you don’t get promoted, move on or create your own opportunities. But no matter what you do, don’t feel entitled to the promotion.

 

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

Daniel Harkavy

MEET THE AUTHORDaniel Harkavy is currently the CEO and Head Coach of Building Champions. Daniel Harkavy is also an executive coach, a speaker and co-author of the national best-seller Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want.

Michael Hyatt

MEET THE AUTHORMichael Hyatt is also a blogger, a speaker and co-author of the national best-seller Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want.

The Importance Of Successfully Leading Through Change

To remain competitive, most organizations stay up to date on every technology, continually propose innovative products and always embrace change. However, putting change into practice is much more complex than it appears.

To that effect, effective leaders have to be confident, self-aware, self-assured, strategic, adaptable, bold, resourceful, driven, accountable and able to think on their feet. Needless to say, ineffective leadership hinders change, creates mistrust, disengagement, misalignment and a loss of moral among employees.

Wondering how to successfully lead change and overcome resistance?

Leading Through Change

Change is a part of life, is a constant and is inevitable. Change shakes things up, disrupts old habits, breathes new life into the workplace and into any project.

It has the ability to stimulate interest in a job and can be perceived as a new challenge. It also creates an opportunity for promotion and to learn new skills.

Change becomes compulsory and evident in the workplace during societal movements, when the values and beliefs of both leaders and employees no longer match those of the company. Change also happens when the organization requires new skills, new products or services, policies update, restructuring, or relocation.

Resistance to change

Change brings about an initial resistance, can easily become chaotic and unstable. When faced with change, most people believe that they will:

  • potentially lose their current position,
  • be demoted, that their career will eventually suffer or that their hard work will be devalued,
  • be working for a lower salary,
  • lose control over their own life,
  • live in the unknown.

The unknown generates strong emotions in people. Therefore, employees tend to resist change when they are surprised or unprepared, don’t understand the reasons for the change, are not implicated enough in the decision-making process.

Indeed, some people will openly express their resistance to change, some will voluntarily sabotage change, others will quietly and passively express their discontent. It is the role of the leader to temper such behavior and push change.

How to implement change?

The leaders must visibly act out the change, must be ready to do things differently and to think otherwise. To lead the change process from start to finish:

  1. Assess your own ability to handle change. Before undertaking such mission, ensure that you believe in the change and that it doesn’t go against your principles. In addition, keep in mind that reacting to the change is much more difficult than initiating it. Either you can start the movement, participate in it or suffer and react to it.
  2. Stay disciplinedresilient and patient. The change process is slow and everybody moves at their own pace.
  3. Learn to communicate your vision which encompasses your values and morals.
  4. Be authentic and transparent in order to build trust and to improve relationships. Change is much more difficult to implement when there is a climate of mistrust.
  5. Be open to feedback and to making alterations to the original plan of action.
  6. Ask probing questions to key employees, acknowledge that you don’t know all the answers and be open to learn continually. This will allow you to gather appropriate information, to anticipate issues, to maximize effort.
  7. Evaluate the right amount of change you want to implement. You don’t want to overwhelm or burn out your employees .
  8. Calculate the costs and determine the feasibility of the change to ensure that it doesn’t get out of control. It becomes critical to motivate the necessary time and resources, to place emphasis on the value and sustainability of change.
  9. Analyze the consequences of change before undertaking anything.
  10. Understand the company culture, its values and beliefs in order to best present ideas and to determine a proper structure.
  11. Design a clear strategy and outcome for the process. For example, you can break the change process into smaller steps, prioritize them and create metrics to measure progress.
  12. Identify the influencers and the people who are open to change in your organization. Find informal leaders in your organization, who will motivate others and who will instill pride in their work.
  13. Discuss the implications of change with your employees and increase the number of meetings if necessary. Listen to the questions and concerns of your employees. It is necessary to reassure people about the upcoming changes by explaining to them the reasons and the benefits for change.
  14. Directly address problems, don’t micromanage and don’t openly criticize dissenting voices in order to shut them up.
  15. Keep your energy up during the process, motivate your team and show them the positive sides of the transformation. Persuade your employees that they will benefit from the change to increase commitment.
  16. Encourage collaboration on your team, mitigate conflicts and maintain harmony as much as possible because emotions are high.
  17. Set high expectations and give your team the confidence to deal with changes and gain their approval every step of the way.
  18. Give your employees more ownership of their work to increase commitment.
  19. Expect setbacks. Understand that the risks are worth the rewards and that it is OK to fail. People don’t take risks when there are no personal rewards, there is no clemency towards failure.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

Dealing With Cultural Sensitivity In The Workplace

In the world we live in, with a supremacist leader as the leader of the free world, it seems that culturally ignorant people feel free to demonstrate their ignorance. Lately, cultural ignorance and overtly offending people have been maximized, and this behavior is slowly becoming the norm.

At work and in life, leaders are the ones to demonstrate exemplary behavior when dealing with people from different backgrounds. They have to be emotionally and culturally intelligent.

Wondering how to adjust yourself with different cultures, to become more culturally sensitive and create a healthy workplace?

Cultural Sensitivity Workplace

What is culture?

Culture is a dynamic and complex system of shared values, norms and symbols that distinguishes groups of people from others and that bound them together. It is demonstrated most often in literature, art, religion, language, traditions.

Furthermore, culture is learnt, and shapes one’s personal behavior, values, thoughts, experiences. for example, it defines one’s reaction to conflict or our problem solving skills.

Culture lays the basis for purpose, a higher calling and meaning in life. It is built on morals and a set of unspoken rules. It also conditions our perception for failure and success.

What is cultural sensitivity?

Cultural sensitivity is being aware that everyone is not the same. It means being able to learn from different people, to understand their backgrounds, to collaborate and cooperate with them, without being judgmental.

Cultural sensitivity means viewing everyone as a unique individual. It promotes unity and has become a skill that is most useful in the world of today.

Why is cultural sensitivity important?

Cultural sensitivity is detrimental because it introduces the concept of identity, of cultural appreciation, of cultural differences. It consequently increase the feeling of belonging and of safety. It improves communication, the quality of work in multinationals or when dealing with coworkers from different backgrounds. In addition, it removes the idea of cultural superiority.

Contrasting cultures bring a diverse set of knowledge, competencies, perspectives and ideas. If positively and purposefully harnessed, culture differences can trigger innovation, creativity and improve job satisfaction.

How to become a culturally sensitive leader?

Work is a part of an individual social identity. Corporate has its own culture, with its norm, its rules, its own values and own systems of beliefs. If the culture is healthy and positive, people easily feel empowered, valued and give better results.

In the corporate culture, managing people with different backgrounds is complex and full of challenges. Regardless of the laws in place, there are a lot of micro aggression towards diversity.

To create culturally sensitive environment, and subsequently a healthy workplace:

  1. Encourage self-awareness and self-development. Change is an internal process that requires self-analysis and self-respect beforehand.
  2. Stay authentic and don’t try to appropriate or claim someone else’s culture.
  3. Be mindful, be open to new experiences and don’t hesitate to explore and learn new things.
  4. Remember, with every interaction, that every person from a different culture is a human-being.
  5. Embrace people who are different from yourself. Get to know the person’s background to understand their behavior, how they operate in society and how they experience life.
  6. Listen actively and respectfully to people and when speaking, choose your words carefully.
  7. Avoid imposing your ideas on people and forcing them into a box of stereotypes.
  8. Take the initiative and learn other people’s dynamics through personal experience or prolonged exposure.
  9. Identify some idioms and sayings. Also, pronounce their name correctly and accept silence as an act of communication. Learning their language will consequently improve communication.
  10. Show appreciation for someone else’s culture. On one hand, demonstrate empathy and avoid judging them. On the other hand, don’t pander too much to someone else’s culture.
  11. Ask probing open-ended questions. Avoid asking too many questions as not to overwhelm your interlocutor.
  12. Help your employees to understand the company’s culture, expectations, goals and code of conduct.
  13. Work on your social skills. Focus on building healthy relationships.
  14. Effectively navigate conflicts brought by cultural differences.
  15. Pick up on emotional and non verbal cues during conversations.
  16. Take and provide diversity trainings.
  17. If you are part of the majority, seek understanding before seeking to be understood. opening up to minorities will help them accept yours faster, to face challenges better and will increase their work performance.
  18. Respect that other people won’t want to integrate your culture. 
  19. Allow people to express freely their values. This will increase their interactions with others, their work performance and their well-being.
  20. Learn to compromise.
  21. Encourage your team to travel more and to approach diverse group of people outside of work.

Adjusting or understanding a culture is a long process. Learning and adjusting to someone else’s culture doesn’t mean that you have to deny your own. It just means that you are able to work and collaborate with people from diverse culture.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.