The problems we face daily as event professionals can be large or small, simple or complex, easy or difficult, and having good, strong problem solving skills can make a huge difference to your career.
Being a confident problem solver is a really important and fundamental part of planning and organising an event and much of that confidence comes from having a good process in place.
With a process, you can solve problems quickly and effectively. Without, your solutions may be ineffective, or you’ll get stuck and end up doing nothing with sometimes painful consequences.
The four basic steps to solving a problem are:
1 Defining the problem.
2 Generating alternative solutions.
3 Evaluating and selecting alternatives.
4 Implementing and follow up on the solutions.
When defining the problem make sure you focus attention on the problem and not just the symptoms. Helpful techniques can include flowcharts to identify expected steps and cause and effect diagrams to help you define the root causes.
When generating alternatives ensure that several are proposed which compare characteristics of a final solution rather than the desired solution. When you try and work solely towards a desired solution it can make it challenging to collect good data and information about the process.
Skilled problem solvers consider the following when evaluating and selecting alternatives; how much an alternative will solve the problem without causing other unanticipated problems, the individuals involved will accept the alternative, implementation is likely, the alternative fits the organisation.
When implementing a solution call on leaders and managers to support where necessary. Involving others in implementation is the most effective way to minimise any resistance to change.
Using tools and techniques will help you improve your approach to solving any of the problems that you, your team or your organisation face.
You’ll be more successful at solving problems and, because of this, more successful at what you do. What’s more, you’ll begin to build a reputation as someone who can handle tough situations, in a constructive and positive way.
Helen Moon, is a CIM qualified events and marketing director with an eclectic event career spanning 21 years within event production, venue operations, proactive sales and digital marketing. Helen is the CEO and Founder of EWL Club UK, Managing Director of EventWell Ltd and co-founder of Event Wellbeing Week.