problem solving in the workplace scenarios

7 Examples of Problem-Solving Scenarios in the Workplace (With Solutions)

What is problem-solving anyway, problem-solving scenario #1: tight deadlines and heavy workload.

  • Problem-solving Scenario #2: Handling a Product Launch

Problem-solving Scenario #3: Internal Conflicts in the Team

Problem-solving scenario #4: team not meeting targets, problem-solving scenario #5: team facing high turnover, problem-solving scenario #6: team member facing discrimination, problem-solving scenario #7: new manager unable to motivate a team, building an effective problem-solving framework, wrapping up, frequently asked questions for managers.

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Problem-Solving Scenarios for Managers

  • Talk to the team members: John begins by asking what’s holding them back. Based on their responses, he realizes that he needs to delegate better. Immediately, John schedules meetings to  clarify each member’s expectations , priorities, and roles and ensure everyone is on the same page. He also makes a note to work on his delegation skills.
  • Plan things: John creates a project timeline or task list that outlines the deadlines and deliverables for each team member and shares this with the team to ensure that everyone is aware of what is expected of them.
  • Support the team: The team sits together to establish regular check-ins or progress updates to ensure members can ask questions or raise concerns.

Problem-solving Scenario # 2 : Handling a Product Launch

  • Review and redraw plans:  Emily revisited the project plan and identified areas where the team could reduce the scope or prioritize features to meet the budget constraints.
  • Go for alternatives:  The team then explored alternative resources or suppliers to find cost-effective options. Are there any underutilized resources, equipment, or personnel from other projects or departments that can be temporarily assigned to this project? Moreover, they revisited their suppliers and negotiated further.
  • Outsourcing parts of the project:  Emily considered outsourcing some project functions to external contractors or freelancers. Eventually, they outsourced the marketing to another team and continued working on the core features.
  • Upgrade the available capacity:  Emily and her team invested in upskilling the present workforce with additional skills. It allowed some team members to explore exciting areas and supplemented the team.
  • Get both sides onboard: Taylor begins the conflict resolution process by talking to both team members. She recognizes the issue and first goes into individual discussions with both. Later, she sets up a meeting for both to share their perspectives.
  • Mediation:  In the next step, the manager encourages the two team members to talk to each other and resolve the conflict independently. Taylor describes how the optimal contribution can look different for different team members. Additionally, she encourages them to be more open and collaborative so that they understand what the other one does.
  • Preventing mistakes again:  The team holds a meeting to discuss the issue and allow other team members to express their thoughts and feelings. By not hiding the problem that happened in front of everyone, Taylor acknowledges the issues and shows that she cares about the things happening inside the team. Further, by discussing and sharing, they can build a healthy relationship to prevent similar issues in the future. 
  • Use formal tools: Lastly, they establish clear guidelines and expectations for behavior and communication within the team to prevent future conflicts. Training and coaching are also added to help team members improve their communication and conflict-resolution skills.
  • Discussions with the Sales Representatives: Donna starts by having one-on-one conversations with each team member to understand their perspectives on why the targets are not being met. After gathering insights from personal discussions, Donna calls for a team meeting. During the session, she allows team members to share their experiences, challenges, and suggestions openly. 
  • Analysis of Sales Process: Donna conducts a detailed sales process analysis, from lead generation to closing deals. She identifies bottlenecks and areas where the team might be facing difficulties. This analysis helps her pinpoint specific stages that need improvement. 
  • Setting Realistic Targets: Donna understands that overly ambitious targets might be demotivating. She collaborates with her team to develop more achievable yet challenging sales targets based on their current performance and market conditions. She organizes training sessions and workshops to help team members develop the necessary skills and knowledge to excel. 
  • Recognition and Incentives: Donna introduces a recognition program and incentives for meeting and exceeding targets to motivate the team. This helps boost morale and encourages healthy competition within the team. She closely monitors the team’s progress toward the revised targets. 
  • Conduct Exit Interviews:  As the stream of resignation continues, Neil adopts a realistic approach and starts by attempting to understand the issues his former team members face. He conducts exit interviews with the people leaving and tries to determine what’s wrong. 
  • Understand the current team:  In the next step, Neil tries to learn the perspectives of staying people. Through surveys and conversations, he lists the good parts of working in his team and emphasizes them. He also finds the challenges and works on reducing them. 
  • Change and adapt to employee needs:  These conversations help Neil enable a better work environment to help him contain turnover and attract top talent. Moving forward, he ensures that pay is competitive and work is aligned with the employee’s goals. He also involves stakeholders to create development and growth opportunities for his team.
  • Be approachable and open: Erica first ensures she can gather all the details from the team members. She provides them with a safe space and comfort to express their concern and ensures that action will be taken. She supports the targeted team members, such as access to counselling or other resources.
  • Adopt and follow an official policy: Developing and enforcing anti-discrimination policies that clearly state the organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is the first step to creating a safe workplace. Erica refers to the policy and takes immediate action accordingly, including a thorough investigation.
  • Reiterating commitment and goals: Providing diversity and inclusion training to all team members to help them understand the impact of discrimination and how to prevent it is essential to create a safe workplace. Erica ensures that the team members are aware of the provisions, the DEI goals set by the organization, and 
  • Connect with the team: Andrew starts by conducting one-on-one meetings with team members to understand their personal and professional goals, challenges, and strengths. Observing team dynamics and identifying any issues or obstacles hindering motivation and productivity also helps.
  • Involving team members in the process: Seeking feedback from team members on what motivates them and what they want to see from their manager to feel more inspired.
  • Enabling and empowering: Offering opportunities for growth and development, such as training, mentoring, or leadership roles, helped Andrew contribute to his team’s development. 
  • Take help from Merlin: Andrew reached out to Merlin, the AI chatbot of Risely, to get tips whenever he got stuck. Merlin sought details about his issues and shared some tips to help out Andrew. Here is what it looked like: 

andrew motivating a new team

  • Develop a problem-solving process: To get problem-solving right for multiple scenarios repeatedly, the key is to remember and set a problem-solving approach that works across the board. A wide-ranged problem-solving process that begins with identification and concludes at the resolution helps managers navigate various challenges the profession throws us. 
  • Learn to identify problems: The key to solving problems is placing them at the right moment. If you let some problems pester for long, they can become more significant issues for the teams. Hence, building the understanding to identify issues is essential for managers.
  • Think from multiple perspectives: As a problem-solver, you must care for various parties and stakeholders. Thus, thinking from numerous perspectives and considering ideas from a broad spectrum of people is a core skill. 
  • Consistently work on skills: Like other managerial skills, problem-solving skills need constant practice and review. Over time, your skills can become more robust with the help of assessments and toolkits. Tools like Risely can help you with resources and constant guidance to overcome managerial challenges. Check out Risely today to start reaching your true potential.

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problem solving in the workplace scenarios

problem solving in the workplace scenarios

Tackling Workplace Challenges: How to Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills

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Max 11 min read

Tackling Workplace Challenges: How to Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills

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Picture this: you’re in the middle of your workday, and suddenly, a problem arises. Maybe it’s a miscommunication between team members, a tight deadline that’s getting closer, or an unhappy customer you need to appease.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

The thing is, facing challenges at work is pretty much inevitable. But what sets successful professionals apart is their knack for tackling these issues head-on with a problem-solving mindset.

You see, being a great problem solver is a game-changer in any work environment. It helps us navigate through obstacles, come up with creative solutions, and turn potential setbacks into opportunities for growth.

In this article, we will dive into some common workplace problems and explore real-life examples of problem-solving scenarios.

We’ll also share practical solutions and strategies that you can use to tackle these challenges, ultimately empowering you to become a more effective problem solver and team player.

Common Workplace Problems Businesses Experience

Common Workplace Problems Businesses Experience

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of problem-solving scenarios, let’s take a quick look at some of the most common workplace problems that almost every professional encounters at some point in their career.

By understanding these challenges, we’ll be better equipped to recognize and address them effectively.

Communication breakdowns

Miscommunications and misunderstandings can happen to the best of us. With team members working together, sometimes remotely or across different time zones, it’s not surprising that communication breakdowns can occur. These issues can lead to confusion, missed deadlines, and even strained relationships within the team if left unaddressed.

Some examples of communication breakdowns include:

  • Unclear instructions
  • Lack of updates on project progress
  • Messages lost in a sea of emails

Fostering open communication channels and utilizing collaboration tools can help teams stay connected and informed.

Conflicting priorities and resource allocation

With limited resources and multiple projects competing for attention, it can be challenging to determine which tasks should take precedence. Juggling conflicting priorities and allocating resources efficiently is a common workplace problem that can result in decreased productivity and increased stress if not managed properly.

For example, two high-priority projects might be scheduled simultaneously, leaving team members stretched thin and struggling to meet deadlines. Developing a clear project prioritization framework and regularly reviewing priorities can help teams stay focused and manage their resources effectively.

Employee performance issues

It’s not unusual for team members to face performance-related challenges occasionally. Employee performance issues can affect team productivity and morale, whether it’s due to a lack of skills, motivation, or other factors. Identifying and addressing these concerns early on is crucial for maintaining a high-performing and engaged team.

For instance, employees may struggle to keep up with their workload due to a skills gap or personal issues. Providing coaching, training, and support can help employees overcome performance challenges and contribute positively to the team’s success.

Customer satisfaction challenges

Meeting customer expectations and delivering exceptional service are goals for most organizations. However, addressing customer satisfaction challenges can be tricky, especially when dealing with diverse customer needs, tight deadlines, or limited resources.

Ensuring a customer-centric approach to problem-solving can help overcome these obstacles and keep your customers happy.

For example, a product might not meet customer expectations, resulting in negative feedback and returns. By actively listening to customer concerns, involving them in the solution process, and implementing improvements, organizations can turn customer dissatisfaction into opportunities for growth and enhanced customer loyalty.

Adapting to change

Change is inevitable in the modern workplace, whether due to new technology, evolving market conditions, or organizational restructuring. Adapting to change can be difficult for some team members, leading to resistance or fear of the unknown.

Embracing a flexible mindset and developing strategies to cope with change is essential for maintaining a productive and resilient work environment.

For instance, a company might introduce new software that requires employees to learn new skills, causing anxiety and frustration. By providing training, resources, and support, leaders can help team members adapt to change more effectively and even become champions of new initiatives.

How to Identify Workplace Problems

How to Identify Workplace Problems

A problem-free workplace doesn’t exist.

Even if you run a well-oiled machine with many happy employees, it’s still a good idea to proactively search for any problems.

The earlier you can get ahead of issues, the easier it will be to put things right and avoid any breakdowns in productivity. Here’s how you can go about that:

Recognizing the Signs of Potential Issues

Before diving into problem-solving strategies, it’s essential first to identify the workplace problems that need attention.

Look out for signs that could indicate potential issues, such as decreased productivity and efficiency, increased employee turnover or dissatisfaction, frequent miscommunications, and conflicts, or declining customer satisfaction and recurring complaints. These red flags might signal underlying problems that require your attention and resolution.

Proactive Problem Identification Strategies

To stay ahead of potential issues, it’s crucial to adopt a proactive approach to problem identification. Open communication channels with your team members and encourage them to share their concerns, ideas, and feedback.

Regular performance reviews and feedback sessions can also help identify areas for improvement or potential problems before they escalate.

Fostering a culture of transparency and trust within the organization makes it easier for employees to voice their concerns without fear of retribution. Additionally, utilizing data-driven analysis and performance metrics can help you spot trends or anomalies that may indicate underlying problems.

Seeking Input from Various Sources

When identifying workplace problems, gathering input from various sources is crucial to ensure you’re getting a comprehensive and accurate picture of the situation. Employee surveys and suggestion boxes can provide valuable insights into potential issues.

At the same time, team meetings and brainstorming sessions can stimulate open discussions and creative problem-solving.

Cross-departmental collaboration is another effective way to identify potential problems, enabling different teams to share their perspectives and experiences. In some cases, it might be helpful to seek external expert consultations or benchmark against industry standards to gain a broader understanding of potential issues and identify best practices for resolving them.

Problem-Solving Scenario Examples and Solutions

Problem-Solving Scenario Examples and Solutions

Let’s dive into some real-life problem-solving scenarios, exploring the challenges and their practical solutions. We’ll discuss communication issues, conflicting priorities, employee performance, customer satisfaction, and managing change.

Remember, every situation is unique; these examples are just a starting point to inspire your problem-solving process.

Scenario 1: Resolving communication issues within a team

  • Identifying the root causes: Let’s say your team has been missing deadlines and experiencing confusion due to poor communication. The first step is identifying the root causes, such as ineffective communication tools, unclear instructions, or a lack of regular updates.
  • Implementing effective communication strategies: Implement strategies to improve communication. For example, consider adopting collaboration tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams to streamline communication, establish clear channels for updates, and create guidelines for concise and transparent instructions.
  • Encouraging a culture of openness and feedback: Cultivate a team culture that values openness and feedback. Encourage team members to voice concerns, ask questions, and share ideas. Regularly hold check-ins and retrospectives to discuss communication challenges and opportunities for improvement.

Scenario 2: Balancing conflicting priorities and resource constraints

  • Evaluating project requirements and resources: In this scenario, you’re juggling two high-priority projects with limited resources. Start by evaluating each project’s requirements, resources, and potential impact on the organization.
  • Prioritization techniques and delegation: Use prioritization techniques like the Eisenhower Matrix or MoSCoW method to rank tasks and allocate resources accordingly. Delegate tasks efficiently by matching team members’ skills and expertise with project requirements.
  • Continuous monitoring and adjustment: Regularly monitor project progress and adjust priorities and resources as needed. Keep stakeholders informed about changes and maintain open lines of communication to ensure alignment and avoid surprises.

Scenario 3: Addressing employee performance concerns

  • Identifying performance gaps: When an employee’s performance is below expectations, identify the specific areas that need improvement. Is it a skills gap, lack of motivation, or external factors like personal issues?
  • Providing constructive feedback and support: Provide clear, constructive feedback to the employee, highlighting areas for improvement and offering support, such as training, coaching, or mentorship.
  • Developing performance improvement plans: Collaborate with the employee to develop a performance improvement plan, outlining specific goals, timelines, and resources. Regularly review progress and adjust the plan as needed.

Scenario 4: Improving customer satisfaction

  • Analyzing customer feedback and pain points: In this scenario, customers are dissatisfied with a product, resulting in negative feedback and returns. Analyze customer feedback to identify common pain points and areas for improvement.
  • Implementing customer-centric solutions: Work with your team to develop and implement solutions that address customer concerns, such as enhancing product features or improving customer support.
  • Monitoring progress and iterating for success: Regularly monitor customer satisfaction levels and gather feedback to assess the effectiveness of your solutions. Iterate and improve as needed to ensure continuous progress toward higher customer satisfaction.

Scenario 5: Managing change and uncertainty

  • Assessing the impact of change on the organization: When faced with change, such as the introduction of new software, assess the potential impact on the organization, including the benefits, challenges, and required resources.
  • Developing a change management plan: Create a comprehensive change management plan that includes communication strategies, training, and support resources to help team members adapt to the change.
  • Fostering resilience and adaptability among team members: Encourage a culture of resilience and adaptability by providing ongoing support, celebrating small wins, and recognizing the efforts of team members who embrace and champion the change.

Scenario 6: Navigating team conflicts

  • Identifying the sources of conflict: When conflicts arise within a team, it’s crucial to identify the underlying issues, such as personality clashes, competing interests, or poor communication.
  • Facilitating open discussions and mediation: Arrange a meeting with the involved parties to discuss the conflict openly and objectively. Consider using a neutral third party to mediate the conversation, ensuring everyone’s perspective is heard and understood.
  • Developing and implementing conflict resolution strategies: Work together to develop strategies for resolving the conflict, such as setting clear expectations, improving communication, or redefining roles and responsibilities. Monitor progress and adjust strategies as needed to ensure long-term resolution.

Scenario 7: Overcoming deadline pressure and time management challenges

  • Assessing project progress and priorities: If a team is struggling to meet deadlines, assess project progress and review priorities. Identify tasks that are behind schedule, and determine if any can be reprioritized or delegated.
  • Implementing time management techniques: Encourage the team to adopt effective time management techniques, such as the Pomodoro Technique or time blocking, to maximize productivity and stay focused on tasks.
  • Adjusting project scope and resources as needed: In some cases, it may be necessary to adjust the project scope or allocate additional resources to ensure successful completion. Communicate any changes to stakeholders and maintain transparency throughout the process.

Scenario 8: Tackling low employee morale and engagement

  • Identifying the causes of low morale: When faced with low employee morale, it’s essential to identify the contributing factors, such as lack of recognition, insufficient growth opportunities, or unrealistic expectations.
  • Implementing targeted initiatives to boost morale: Develop and implement initiatives to address these factors, such as offering regular feedback and recognition, providing professional development opportunities, or reassessing workload and expectations.
  • Monitoring and adjusting efforts to improve engagement: Regularly monitor employee morale and engagement through surveys or informal conversations. Adjust your initiatives to ensure continuous improvement and maintain a positive work environment.

Developing Problem-Solving Skills in the Workplace

Developing Problem-Solving Skills in the Workplace

As we’ve seen, problem-solving is a crucial skill for navigating the myriad challenges that can arise in the workplace. To become effective problem solvers, you must develop hard and soft skills that will allow you to tackle issues head-on and find the best solutions.

Let’s dive into these skills and discuss how to cultivate them in the workplace.

Soft Skills

Soft skills are non-technical, interpersonal abilities that help you interact effectively with others, navigate social situations, and perform well in the workplace. They are often referred to as “people skills” or “emotional intelligence” because they involve understanding and managing emotions and building relationships with colleagues, clients, and stakeholders.

Soft skills are typically learned through life experiences and personal development rather than formal education or training.

Examples of soft skills include:

  • Critical thinking: Critical thinking is the ability to analyze a situation objectively, considering all relevant information before making a decision. To develop this skill, practice asking open-ended questions, challenging assumptions, and considering multiple perspectives when approaching a problem.
  • Effective communication: Strong communication skills are vital for problem-solving, as they enable you to express your ideas clearly and listen actively to others. To improve your communication skills, focus on being concise, empathetic, and open to feedback. Remember that nonverbal communication, such as body language and tone, can be just as important as the words you choose.
  • Collaboration and teamwork: Problem-solving often requires collaboration, as multiple minds can bring diverse perspectives and fresh ideas to the table. Foster a sense of teamwork by being open to others’ input, sharing knowledge, and recognizing the contributions of your colleagues.
  • Emotional intelligence: The ability to recognize and manage your emotions, as well as empathize with others, can significantly impact your problem-solving abilities. To cultivate emotional intelligence, practice self-awareness, self-regulation, and empathy when dealing with challenges or conflicts.
  • Adaptability and resilience: In a constantly changing work environment, the ability to adapt and bounce back from setbacks is essential. Develop your adaptability and resilience by embracing change, learning from failure, and maintaining a growth mindset.

Hard Skills

Hard skills, on the other hand, are specific, teachable abilities that can be acquired through formal education, training, or on-the-job experience. These skills are typically technical, industry-specific, or job-related and can be easily quantified and measured.

Hard skills are often necessary for performing specific tasks or operating specialized tools and equipment.

Examples of hard skills include:

  • Project management: Effective problem-solving often involves managing resources, timelines, and tasks. Improve your project management skills by learning popular methodologies (e.g., Agile, Scrum, or Waterfall), setting clear goals, and monitoring progress.
  • Data analysis and interpretation: Many problems require data analysis to identify trends, patterns, or insights that inform decision-making. Strengthen your data analysis skills by familiarizing yourself with relevant tools and software, such as Excel or Tableau, and practicing critical thinking when interpreting results.
  • Technical proficiency: Depending on your industry, various technical skills may be crucial for problem-solving. Stay current with your field’s latest tools, technologies, and best practices by participating in workshops, online courses, or industry events.
  • Decision-making: Strong decision-making skills are vital for problem-solving, as they enable you to evaluate options and choose the best course of action. Develop your decision-making abilities by learning about decision-making models (e.g., SWOT analysis, cost-benefit analysis, or decision trees) and applying them in real-life situations.

Both types of skills—soft and hard—play a crucial role in achieving success in the workplace, as they work together to create a well-rounded and highly effective employee. When combined, these skills enable individuals to excel in their roles and contribute significantly to their organization’s performance and productivity.

Boosting Your Problem-Solving Skills in the Workplace

Boosting Your Problem-Solving Skills in the Workplace

Boosting your problem-solving skills in the workplace is essential for success, personal growth, and increased productivity.

To effectively improve these skills, consider the following strategies:

  • Cultivate a growth mindset by embracing challenges as learning opportunities, being open to feedback, and believing in your ability to develop and improve.
  • Enhance critical thinking and creativity by objectively analyzing information, considering multiple perspectives, and brainstorming innovative solutions.
  • Develop effective communication skills, including active listening and clear articulation of your thoughts, to facilitate collaboration and problem-solving.
  • Foster empathy and emotional intelligence to understand others’ emotions, perspectives, and needs, which can help you devise better solutions.
  • Learn from experienced colleagues, study successful problem-solving strategies, and participate in professional development courses or workshops to gain new insights and techniques.
  • Adopt a systematic approach to problem-solving by defining the problem, gathering and analyzing relevant information, generating and evaluating potential solutions, and implementing the chosen solution while monitoring its effectiveness.
  • Stay organized and manage your time effectively by prioritizing tasks based on urgency and importance and breaking complex problems into smaller, more manageable parts.
  • Embrace change, be resilient and adaptable, and learn from failures and setbacks to stay flexible and open to new ideas.

By dedicating time and effort to improving these aspects of your problem-solving skills, you can become a more effective problem-solver, contributing positively to your workplace and enhancing your career prospects.

Problems in the workplace will continuously develop and evolve over time if left unaddressed. Proactively dealing with these issues is the most effective method to ensure a positive and productive work environment.

By honing your problem-solving skills, embracing a growth mindset, and fostering open communication, you can tackle challenges head-on and prevent minor issues from escalating into significant obstacles.

Remember, staying proactive, adaptable, and continuously refining your problem-solving strategies is crucial for professional success and personal growth in the ever-changing world of work.

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Interview Questions

Comprehensive Interview Guide: 60+ Professions Explored in Detail

26 Good Examples of Problem Solving (Interview Answers)

By Biron Clark

Published: November 15, 2023

Employers like to hire people who can solve problems and work well under pressure. A job rarely goes 100% according to plan, so hiring managers will be more likely to hire you if you seem like you can handle unexpected challenges while staying calm and logical in your approach.

But how do they measure this?

They’re going to ask you interview questions about these problem solving skills, and they might also look for examples of problem solving on your resume and cover letter. So coming up, I’m going to share a list of examples of problem solving, whether you’re an experienced job seeker or recent graduate.

Then I’ll share sample interview answers to, “Give an example of a time you used logic to solve a problem?”

Problem-Solving Defined

It is the ability to identify the problem, prioritize based on gravity and urgency, analyze the root cause, gather relevant information, develop and evaluate viable solutions, decide on the most effective and logical solution, and plan and execute implementation. 

Problem-solving also involves critical thinking, communication, listening, creativity, research, data gathering, risk assessment, continuous learning, decision-making, and other soft and technical skills.

Solving problems not only prevent losses or damages but also boosts self-confidence and reputation when you successfully execute it. The spotlight shines on you when people see you handle issues with ease and savvy despite the challenges. Your ability and potential to be a future leader that can take on more significant roles and tackle bigger setbacks shine through. Problem-solving is a skill you can master by learning from others and acquiring wisdom from their and your own experiences. 

It takes a village to come up with solutions, but a good problem solver can steer the team towards the best choice and implement it to achieve the desired result.

Watch: 26 Good Examples of Problem Solving

Examples of problem solving scenarios in the workplace.

  • Correcting a mistake at work, whether it was made by you or someone else
  • Overcoming a delay at work through problem solving and communication
  • Resolving an issue with a difficult or upset customer
  • Overcoming issues related to a limited budget, and still delivering good work through the use of creative problem solving
  • Overcoming a scheduling/staffing shortage in the department to still deliver excellent work
  • Troubleshooting and resolving technical issues
  • Handling and resolving a conflict with a coworker
  • Solving any problems related to money, customer billing, accounting and bookkeeping, etc.
  • Taking initiative when another team member overlooked or missed something important
  • Taking initiative to meet with your superior to discuss a problem before it became potentially worse
  • Solving a safety issue at work or reporting the issue to those who could solve it
  • Using problem solving abilities to reduce/eliminate a company expense
  • Finding a way to make the company more profitable through new service or product offerings, new pricing ideas, promotion and sale ideas, etc.
  • Changing how a process, team, or task is organized to make it more efficient
  • Using creative thinking to come up with a solution that the company hasn’t used before
  • Performing research to collect data and information to find a new solution to a problem
  • Boosting a company or team’s performance by improving some aspect of communication among employees
  • Finding a new piece of data that can guide a company’s decisions or strategy better in a certain area

Problem Solving Examples for Recent Grads/Entry Level Job Seekers

  • Coordinating work between team members in a class project
  • Reassigning a missing team member’s work to other group members in a class project
  • Adjusting your workflow on a project to accommodate a tight deadline
  • Speaking to your professor to get help when you were struggling or unsure about a project
  • Asking classmates, peers, or professors for help in an area of struggle
  • Talking to your academic advisor to brainstorm solutions to a problem you were facing
  • Researching solutions to an academic problem online, via Google or other methods
  • Using problem solving and creative thinking to obtain an internship or other work opportunity during school after struggling at first

You can share all of the examples above when you’re asked questions about problem solving in your interview. As you can see, even if you have no professional work experience, it’s possible to think back to problems and unexpected challenges that you faced in your studies and discuss how you solved them.

Interview Answers to “Give an Example of an Occasion When You Used Logic to Solve a Problem”

Now, let’s look at some sample interview answers to, “Give me an example of a time you used logic to solve a problem,” since you’re likely to hear this interview question in all sorts of industries.

Example Answer 1:

At my current job, I recently solved a problem where a client was upset about our software pricing. They had misunderstood the sales representative who explained pricing originally, and when their package renewed for its second month, they called to complain about the invoice. I apologized for the confusion and then spoke to our billing team to see what type of solution we could come up with. We decided that the best course of action was to offer a long-term pricing package that would provide a discount. This not only solved the problem but got the customer to agree to a longer-term contract, which means we’ll keep their business for at least one year now, and they’re happy with the pricing. I feel I got the best possible outcome and the way I chose to solve the problem was effective.

Example Answer 2:

In my last job, I had to do quite a bit of problem solving related to our shift scheduling. We had four people quit within a week and the department was severely understaffed. I coordinated a ramp-up of our hiring efforts, I got approval from the department head to offer bonuses for overtime work, and then I found eight employees who were willing to do overtime this month. I think the key problem solving skills here were taking initiative, communicating clearly, and reacting quickly to solve this problem before it became an even bigger issue.

Example Answer 3:

In my current marketing role, my manager asked me to come up with a solution to our declining social media engagement. I assessed our current strategy and recent results, analyzed what some of our top competitors were doing, and then came up with an exact blueprint we could follow this year to emulate our best competitors but also stand out and develop a unique voice as a brand. I feel this is a good example of using logic to solve a problem because it was based on analysis and observation of competitors, rather than guessing or quickly reacting to the situation without reliable data. I always use logic and data to solve problems when possible. The project turned out to be a success and we increased our social media engagement by an average of 82% by the end of the year.

Answering Questions About Problem Solving with the STAR Method

When you answer interview questions about problem solving scenarios, or if you decide to demonstrate your problem solving skills in a cover letter (which is a good idea any time the job description mention problem solving as a necessary skill), I recommend using the STAR method to tell your story.

STAR stands for:

It’s a simple way of walking the listener or reader through the story in a way that will make sense to them. So before jumping in and talking about the problem that needed solving, make sure to describe the general situation. What job/company were you working at? When was this? Then, you can describe the task at hand and the problem that needed solving. After this, describe the course of action you chose and why. Ideally, show that you evaluated all the information you could given the time you had, and made a decision based on logic and fact.

Finally, describe a positive result you got.

Whether you’re answering interview questions about problem solving or writing a cover letter, you should only choose examples where you got a positive result and successfully solved the issue.

Example answer:

Situation : We had an irate client who was a social media influencer and had impossible delivery time demands we could not meet. She spoke negatively about us in her vlog and asked her followers to boycott our products. (Task : To develop an official statement to explain our company’s side, clarify the issue, and prevent it from getting out of hand). Action : I drafted a statement that balanced empathy, understanding, and utmost customer service with facts, logic, and fairness. It was direct, simple, succinct, and phrased to highlight our brand values while addressing the issue in a logical yet sensitive way.   We also tapped our influencer partners to subtly and indirectly share their positive experiences with our brand so we could counter the negative content being shared online.  Result : We got the results we worked for through proper communication and a positive and strategic campaign. The irate client agreed to have a dialogue with us. She apologized to us, and we reaffirmed our commitment to delivering quality service to all. We assured her that she can reach out to us anytime regarding her purchases and that we’d gladly accommodate her requests whenever possible. She also retracted her negative statements in her vlog and urged her followers to keep supporting our brand.

What Are Good Outcomes of Problem Solving?

Whenever you answer interview questions about problem solving or share examples of problem solving in a cover letter, you want to be sure you’re sharing a positive outcome.

Below are good outcomes of problem solving:

  • Saving the company time or money
  • Making the company money
  • Pleasing/keeping a customer
  • Obtaining new customers
  • Solving a safety issue
  • Solving a staffing/scheduling issue
  • Solving a logistical issue
  • Solving a company hiring issue
  • Solving a technical/software issue
  • Making a process more efficient and faster for the company
  • Creating a new business process to make the company more profitable
  • Improving the company’s brand/image/reputation
  • Getting the company positive reviews from customers/clients

Every employer wants to make more money, save money, and save time. If you can assess your problem solving experience and think about how you’ve helped past employers in those three areas, then that’s a great start. That’s where I recommend you begin looking for stories of times you had to solve problems.

Tips to Improve Your Problem Solving Skills

Throughout your career, you’re going to get hired for better jobs and earn more money if you can show employers that you’re a problem solver. So to improve your problem solving skills, I recommend always analyzing a problem and situation before acting. When discussing problem solving with employers, you never want to sound like you rush or make impulsive decisions. They want to see fact-based or data-based decisions when you solve problems.

Next, to get better at solving problems, analyze the outcomes of past solutions you came up with. You can recognize what works and what doesn’t. Think about how you can get better at researching and analyzing a situation, but also how you can get better at communicating, deciding the right people in the organization to talk to and “pull in” to help you if needed, etc.

Finally, practice staying calm even in stressful situations. Take a few minutes to walk outside if needed. Step away from your phone and computer to clear your head. A work problem is rarely so urgent that you cannot take five minutes to think (with the possible exception of safety problems), and you’ll get better outcomes if you solve problems by acting logically instead of rushing to react in a panic.

You can use all of the ideas above to describe your problem solving skills when asked interview questions about the topic. If you say that you do the things above, employers will be impressed when they assess your problem solving ability.

If you practice the tips above, you’ll be ready to share detailed, impressive stories and problem solving examples that will make hiring managers want to offer you the job. Every employer appreciates a problem solver, whether solving problems is a requirement listed on the job description or not. And you never know which hiring manager or interviewer will ask you about a time you solved a problem, so you should always be ready to discuss this when applying for a job.

Related interview questions & answers:

  • How do you handle stress?
  • How do you handle conflict?
  • Tell me about a time when you failed

Biron Clark

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25+ Good Examples of Problem Solving in the Workplace

Problem-solving is a necessary skill for success in any workplace situation, but it’s especially important when you’re working with other people.

However, this skill seems to be a lost art nowadays. More and more employees— even some leaders —find it difficult to efficiently solve problems and navigate challenging situations.

According to professionals, here are good examples of problem-solving in the workplace:

Lisa Bahar, MA, LMFT, LPCC

Lisa Bahar

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist | Philosophy of Global Leadership and Change Ph.D. Student, Pepperdine University

How are workplace environment problems assessed and evaluated?

Workplace environments problems are assessed and evaluated by completing an environmental scan conducted by an internal or external consultant .

The consultant assesses the workspace, employee interaction, culture, and leadership approaches to identify the problem and the elements supporting the issue.

There are methods and models associated with environmental scans that change experts and problem solvers use to conduct a thorough analysis of the organization for the purposes of change.

Using the effective method of Change Models

The consultant determines effective methods defined as “Change Models,” selected based on the organization’s objectives and strategic goals.

The consultant considers results from an evaluation process that provides a greater understanding of the organization on a micro-level by reviewing social, political, economic, legal, intercultural, and technology elements of the organization SPELIT (Schmeider-Ramirez and Mallette, 2007).

Implement the appropriate Change Model

SPELIT is one of several methods to use in the evaluation process of an organization. Once the consultant completes the evaluation and the problem(s) are identified, the next step is implementing the appropriate Change Model.

For example, an eight-step change model by Kotter is an easy-to-understand approach to identifying change steps in an organization (Kotter, 1996).

The Kotter model can be combined with a training approach, for example, Kirkpatrick’s four levels of training (Kirkpatrick, J.D., and Kirkpatrick, W.K., 2016).

Learn and identify the problem

An example of a learning problem could be a clinical setting needing to transition to electronic notes for client care and experiencing resistance to the change by the organization’s employees.

The evaluation is to identify if it is a:

  • Reaction problem
  • Learning problem
  • Behavior problem
  • Result problem

A consultant may start interviewing leadership, team manager, and workers to gain knowledge and comprehension of the problem.

Bloom’s Taxonomy (Bloom, 1972) can be used as a tool by the consultant to evaluate and identify the learning problem and the objectives that need to be implemented to create change.

The consultant will assess with surveys, interviews, discussions and design and implement training that supports the organization’s staff goals using electronic notes versus handwritten notes to maintain compliance with regulatory standards.

References:

Bloom, B. S. (1972). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals. Kirkpatrick, J. D., & Kirkpatrick, W. K. (2016). Kirkpatrick’s four levels of training evaluation. Association for Talent Development. Kotter, J. P. (1996). Leading change. Harvard Business Press. Schmieder-Ramirez, J. H., D., J. S., & Mallette, L. A. (2007). The Spelit power matrix: Untangling the organizational environment with the Spelit leadership tool. Createspace Independent Pub.

Nick Seidel

Nick Seidel

Safety and Health Specialist, Nick to the Plus

As a Safety and Health Specialist in a million square foot warehouse with 200 material handling equipment on the floor, we have reduced our OSHA Recordable Injuries by over 70% in four years.

I would say keep it simple , trust your team , and know your leading indicators .

Keep it simple and trust your team — don’t overcomplicate problems and solutions

Many new “Leaders” in the workplace want to make an impression. While they are trying to make this impression, they overcomplicate problems and solutions.

They try to reinvent the wheel. Many times this will cause confusion, frustration, and double work.

An example of keeping it simple is (if you are a new Leader in a workplace):

  • Know that your team are the experts and have seen many of you come through.
  • Ask your team what we can do to make your process more accessible or better.
  • Let your team know that you trust them by giving them ownership in their process, and that will foster trust in you.
  • When your team comes to you with suggestions and/or problems, make sure you follow through with their requests.
  • Crowdsource or mastermind the problem, let the team solve the problem, and provide the resources.

Know your leading indicators and how to measure them

A VP told me one time that you can improve something if you aren’t measuring. To solve problems in the workplace , you first need to know the issues and how to measure them.

For example, in safety, I know my leading indicators are:

  • Have a Safety Team that meets regularly with a structured outline to follow.
  • Are we up to date with safety training?
  • Do we have leadership commitment? What are our follow up and follow through ratings?
  • Are employees engaged in safety? Do they feel comfortable reporting hazards or injuries?
  • Are we tracking near-miss incidents and correcting the hazards before it becomes an incident?
  • Do we have consistent and clean housekeeping?

So in closing, keep it simple, trust your team, and know your leading indicators to solve problems in the workplace.

Matthew Carter

Matthew Carter

Attorney,  Inc and Go

Give your good employees more face time with clients. Not all problems relate to clients or customers, but many of them do.

Give your workers the presence and authority to fix client problems

The first step to solving those as they come up is to give your trusted workers the presence and authority to fix client problems.

That means making your worker the company’s “face” to a particular client and giving them the latitude to make decisions. That can empower both the worker and the client to solve problems before getting involved.

Of course, you still need to be on hand for big issues, but those should lessen as time goes on.

Have fewer formal meetings

Nothing stifles creativity faster than another boring all-hands meeting. Throw in a PowerPoint Presentation and a long agenda, and your workers have completely checked out.

Sometimes meetings are necessary, but real problem-solving more often takes place in smaller, unstructured brainstorming sessions with the most personally invested in a problem.

It’s essential that you maintain personal relationships with your workers. If they are having trouble with a particular project or presentation, you can stop by their office for a few minutes to hash out a solution.

Give your ideas time to marinate

In today’s business environment, we often prize speed above all else. After you have brainstormed a solution, it’s often good to get it on paper and then let it sit for a night before coming back with a clear head .

That’s not usually a good recipe for creativity.

If your project is time-sensitive, at least take an hour before returning to it . Creative problem-solving often needs time to work, so when you give ideas time to marinate, you and your clients will probably be happier with the solutions.

Steven Walker

Steven Walker

CEO,  Spylix

Meet with your boss to evaluate the problem before it worsens

Problem-solving skills help you find the cause of a problem and an effective solution . In any case, how to reliably perceive problem-solving is very similar to its limitations, and the other related skills are significantly increased.

Problem-solving is a system that involves understanding tests and finding valuable solutions in the workplace. In everything that matters, every ally needs a worker with these qualities to consider their problem-solving skills and aid in a pleasant cycle in their everyday work.

Following are some skills for problem-solving in the workplace:

  • Fully fixed duty skill
  • Evaluation skill
  • Research skill
  • Imagination/implementation skill

Following are some examples of problem-solving in the workplace:

  • Whether it be you or someone else, it promotes bad things .
  • Overcoming management delays through problem-solving and response.
  • Troubleshooting problematic or dissatisfied customers
  • Overcome the problems associated with limited spending plans and now use creative problem solving to devise unusual action plans.
  • Overcome the need to prepare/complete your workplace to deliver great work anyway.
  • Exploring and solving apparent problems.
  • Supervision and Dispute Resolution through Assistants.
  • Solve all problems related to cash, settlement with customers, accounting, etc.
  • Be truthful when other assistants miss or miss something important.
  • Go ahead and meet with your boss to evaluate the problem before it worsens.

Christopher Liew, CFA

Christopher Liew

Creator,  Wealth Awesome

Surprisingly, approximately 85% of American employees have experienced conflicts with peers and colleagues in their workplace.

It’s why we need to teach people problem-solving techniques in the workplace efficiently and effectively.

Use the consensus decision-making technique frequently

This type of problem-solving technique allows everyone to agree that a particular problem needs to be discussed thoroughly and needs to be solved immediately .

Ideas, opinions, suggestions, solutions, or violent reactions are voiced freely. The goal of this problem-solving technique is to make a list of recommendations that are acceptable to all members of the company.

After that, they further develop the best solution from one of the recommendations that they have all agreed on previously.

It can significantly increase group cohesion and team unity since the consensus decision-making technique allows everyone to participate freely without being judged harshly .

Use the devil’s advocate decision-making technique accordingly and moderately

This type of problem-solving technique allows the business organization to form a panel that will thoroughly scrutinize a group’s ideas and suggestions within the company.

The goal is to uncover weaknesses in the ideas and suggestions presented instantly.

However, this type of decision-making technique can only be implemented efficiently and effectively if the group presenting an idea, suggestion, or solution is open to receiving feedback and constructive criticisms.

It should be used moderately as this decision-making technique could sometimes add tension among group members within the company.

Magda Klimkiewicz

Magda Klimkiewicz

Senior HR Business Partner,  Zety

Make the current process faster, more efficient, or more accurate

One of my all-time favorite ways of problem-solving in the workplace is making the current process faster, more efficient, or more accurate.

Personally, I call this “operation consolidation,” and despite the corny nickname, trust me, when completed, everyone will be appreciative (at least in the long term).

The level of inefficiency and room for improvement is never-ending .

Every dashboard, database, or process often grows in size and complexity over time as everyone is interested in adding that extra field, messing with that new factor without stopping and thinking, “Do we still need and are we using some of the original ones?”

Evolution is constant and makes sense ; however, as the new fields are populated, and processes added, it makes sense to stop and do some much-needed spring cleaning.

This is similar to Coca-Cola’s recent culling of almost half of its portfolio (which only accounted for 5% of its sales). Likewise, every organization looks to subtract before adding on new ones.

So always look to simplify , cut in half , and get rid of the excess fat , whether meetings, overblown dashboards, or processes with too many layers and stakeholders – triage ruthlessly and watch the magic happen.

Stephan Baldwin

Stephan Baldwin

Founder,  Assisted Living Center

Allow each party to voice their solutions to the problem through brain dumping

Brain dumping allows each party to voice their solutions to the problem. Most conflicts involve an offender , defender , and mediator who decides on a resolution.

But opening the floor to suggestions helps implicated employees feel heard and understood, even if you don’t settle for their idea in the end.

Some people prefer to express their preferences in private, so you may want to conduct individual discussions before regrouping to resolve the issue.

All suggestions can remain anonymous to avoid the appearance of bias

From there, all suggestions can remain anonymous to avoid the appearance of bias. Hash out each option with everyone and decide upon a compromise that works best for the majority.

Implement the 5-whys technique

Problem resolution can also take a coach’s approach by implementing the 5-whys technique. The 5-whys allows employees to discover the root of their conflict without directly involving the mediator.

Start the conversation by asking one party why they reacted to the situation offensively. Then, follow up their response by inquiring why they felt or thought that way.

By the time you get to the fifth “why,” everyone should have a clearer picture of how things unraveled.

It can transform the conflict into a collaboration development exercise

This technique can transform the conflict into a collaboration development exercise by allowing colleagues to understand each other’s points of view.

Overall, it encourages more empathy and reasoning in the problem-solving process.

Adam Crossling

Adam Crossling

Marketing Manager,  Zenzero

Make meaningful time to interact with your staff

Set a high standard for communication to solve this problem. Face-to-face communication is preferable whenever possible.

Phone conversations, emails, and texts are acceptable in an emergency, but they are insufficient to replace an utterly present dialogue.

Set suitable objectives and expectations

Make sure your staff grasps the essentials by referring to job descriptions. Convene a brainstorming session for unique initiatives and auxiliary goals, and define goals as a team .

Your staff could surprise you by establishing more challenging goals for themselves than you do.

Demonstrate your worth to a new team or yourself

Share your work description with your staff to solve the problem. Seriously, if you don’t already have one, make one .

It might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Communicate your priorities, and follow through on what you say you’ll do.

Kyle Kroeger

Kyle Kroeger

Founder,  The Impact Investor

Implementing workplace synchrony

This concept that I call workplace synchrony is something that other forms of working may not offer. For example, it is something that the newly introduced remote work culture cannot sufficiently prove to be an alternative.

Workplace synchrony is the impeccable order of operations in which specific departments in the workplace run their proceedings.

For example, I want you to consider this; the production team in a textile factory ensures that the conveyor belt functions correctly, products are manufactured in an orderly manner, and the daily target is met.

However, if it were not for the quality control department, there would be no one to approve of the items’ standards.

Alternatively, as is self-explanatory, there is no job left for quality control inspection teams to do without the production line workers.

This is a testament to the synchrony and flow of how multiple teams get together to solve problems in a sequence and help workplaces flourish.

Brainstorming as a group regarding challenges that the company may face

Another affordance that in-person, and to some extent its remote work counterpart, also provides is the ability to brainstorm as a group regarding challenges that the company may face.

For example, there may be a demand by the labor union to increase wage rates, and also a potential that there may be a strike or a peaceful protest for the same reason.

Group meetings in workplaces allow all the potential stakeholders to be impacted by a possible decision, to be present at one moment, and put their needs, demands, and terms forward.

Hence, in the case that wages are considered to be increased , production costs are going to be deemed to increase .

Managers may talk about possible increases in price. In contrast, customer relations department employees might want to chip in to negotiate on the matter with the managers, not compromise the needs of consumers.

This is how all stakeholders walkout in content, knowing their needs are recognized.

Manage the problem with patience and tact

Emotions and perspectives like self-importance, overconfidence, and arrogance can arise even in our best coworkers, clients, and people we report to.

These people may be very good at their job, but everyone occasionally gets it wrong . Stress, burnout, ill health, fear, and feelings of insecurity can be the causes of underlying disputes, poor judgment, and mistakes in the workplace.

It is important not to lose respect for them and remember they are not only as good as their last job. You can build trust by weathering the storm with them.

If you come out the other side together as partners because you managed the problem with patience and tact, the relationship will be strengthened, and cooperation will hopefully improve.

Some problems become unmanageable, and a person’s stubbornness and refusal to cooperate seem insurmountable. Money matters can be some of the most explosive issues of all.

One thing that can be done is to draw the person’s attention to the critical facts that decide the way forward in terms of financial concerns, rather than anyone enforcing a decision on others.

Monika Dmochowska

Monika Dmochowska

Talent Acquisition Specialist,  Tidio

Implementing a goal-setting system

Problem : Goal-setting and expectations-management.

No doubt, sometimes it’s hard for individual employees and whole teams to set appropriate goals and make relevant expectations.

This can be solved by implementing a goal-setting system (e.g., OKRs) for every employee individually or at least team-wide.

Using a time management system

Problem : Poor time management.

It’s a very common work problem with many solutions working for everyone individually.

A good example would be using a time management system (e.g., Pomodoro), keeping track of all tasks in a project management tool like Jira, and adding all meetings and appointments to the calendar.

Related: 42 Best Productivity and Time Management Books

Identify a mentor that you can turn to for advice and help

Problem : Asking for help.

Unfortunately, it’s challenging for many people to ask for help even if the team encourages them.

An excellent solution to this would be to identify a mentor or a buddy – the person you can turn to for advice and help.

This will be a mutually valuable relationship. You will receive the help you need, and the person will gain experience in mentoring someone.

Related: How to Ask Someone to Be Your Mentor

Jeff Mains

CEO,  Champion Leadership Group LLC

Managers and coworkers will regard you as a valuable resource if you can efficiently address challenges at work. Problem-solving may draw together teams, expedite processes, create a more efficient workplace, and boost productivity.

It could also help you save expenses and raise income — two crucial areas where your boss will be pleased to see improvement.

Require a robust business-wide interaction

To guarantee that you can perform correctly every day, you require a robust business-wide interaction. It’s necessary for long-term development .

When adequate linkages are not present, processes might fall through the cracks, resulting in significant performance concerns.

Addressing communication challenges at work entails guaranteeing a two-way approach to help build a culture of accountability and transparency.

Ensure that employees are treated fairly

Extroverts with a lot of confidence are usually correlated with business success. More extroverted business owners may find it difficult to comprehend their more reserved personnel.

Some may even see the scenario as having introvert issues at work, which is a drawback in some businesses but a valuable asset.

So keep in mind that individuals with more introspective personality qualities bring various aspects to their positions, especially in creative contexts .

You must ensure that employees are treated fairly . Don’t show favoritism to anybody. Also, keep an eye out for nepotism.

Kimberly Back

Kimberly Back

Senior Job Data Content Producer,  Virtual Vocations

Prioritize open communication and employee feedback

Solving workplace problems should be a goal for every business, but the process starts with understanding which workplace stressors affect employees most.

Virtual Vocations surveyed 1,158 U.S. workers and found that the biggest workplace confidence killer, which also negatively impacts productivity and employee well-being, is a micromanager boss .

Related: How to Deal With Micromanagers

Micromanaging and other common workplace problems like poor company culture , lack of transparency , and unrealistic performance expectations can be solved by prioritizing open communication and employee feedback .

Conducting employee surveys, holding the regular team and individual meetings, demonstrating respect for employees, and showing an interest in employees beyond work are all ways to keep employees engaged and ensure their ideas are heard.

When employees have a say in how they work and how they are managed, they are much more likely to perform well and stay longer .

Ahren A. Tiller, Esq.

Ahren Tiller

Founder and Supervising Attorney,  Bankruptcy Law Center

Confront the conflict but actively listen to what the other person says

Communication is very important to any relationship or team. Many issues arise due to lack or absence of communication .

When there is conflict, my staff doesn’t like to beat around the bush. Good problem-solvers don’t act based on their emotions. They confront the conflict but actively listen to what the other person says.

Understand the situation and consider the options to make up for the errors

It doesn’t matter whether one employee or another is at fault; correcting a mistake comes naturally to good problem-solvers.

Self-reflection is an excellent way to assess your own actions—were they helpful?

Look at your own point of view, and the other person’s to understand the situation and consider the options to make up for the errors. Rectifying a mistake requires strategy and creativity .

Ouriel Lemmel

Ouriel Lemmel

CEO and Founder,  WinIt

Use your creative side to identify new or unusual alternatives

Using your creative side to identify new or unusual alternatives is an excellent way to problem-solve in the workplace.

Too often, you can get stuck in a pattern of thinking about what has been successful in the past, but when you are faced with a new problem , you may find it challenging to generate new ideas.

If you have a problem that seems to have no solution, try out some different techniques. Play “What if” games, for example:

“What if money was no object? How would that change the solution?”

You may find an answer you weren’t thinking of. Permit yourself to think of ideas that may seem outlandish or appear to break the rules; you may end up having a stroke of genius.

David Farkas

David Farkas

CEO and Founder,  The Upper Ranks

Raise the bar for effective communication

Making meaningful time to speak with your staff is a common concern. The best way to resolve this issue is to raise the bar for effective communication . Face-to-face communication is the best way to get things done.

There is no alternative to a face-to-face conversation, yet phone conversations, emails, and messages are okay in a pinch. Online aptitude, psychometric, and ability tests are a few examples of the exams that companies could administer to see how well you solve problems.

These are often administered as part of the application process, although they may be given again at an assessment center. Situational judgment assessments and logic tests like inductive reasoning or diagrammatic reasoning will probably gauge how well you solve problems.

Effective issue resolution indeed takes both time and attention . A problem that hasn’t been solved requires more time and attention. Taking the time to slow down is all that is necessary for success .

There are no straight lines in life. You’ll be in good shape on the next straightaway if you get this one correctly. You may not be in the best shape if you move too rapidly .

Employees can weather the storm by planning for the worst-case scenario in every situation. There are a variety of approaches you may take, but the most critical is learning how to overcome the obstacle.

A workplace may be prepared for both the best and worst of times, whether a common cold or an overflowing workload.

David Reid

Sales Director,  VEM Tooling

It is common to face many problems in your organization several times. But what is not common is how to deal with that problem to rise above your previous self.

When we talk about a workplace, there are several difficulties that a person needs to deal with in it. Here is one of my examples of problem-solving at the workplace that I find perfect.

Observe which is more important for your business

Problem : Balance between growth and quality

When I first encountered this problem at the end of 2021. I thought it would be a lot difficult to deal with. But as time passed and I gave my thoughts on this problem repeatedly.

I found a way to deal with it. First, I need to see which is more important for my business, growth or quality.

As we all know, nothing in this world is perfect, but as a new developing firm in the market, I need to ensure my business provides quality to its customers.

When I figured it all out, I found that I would grow my organization if I could provide my customers with good quality satisfaction. That’s how I learned how to balance growth and quality to solve the problem.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How can i improve my problem-solving skills.

To improve your problem-solving skills, you need to practice and be intentional. Here are some things you can do to strengthen this skill:

Identify and analyze problems as soon as possible.  Once you identify a problem, try to understand it thoroughly, gather information from reliable sources, and consider possible solutions.

Think outside the box.  Don’t be afraid to approach problems in unconventional ways. Draw inspiration from unrelated fields or industries.

Collaborate.  Work with your colleagues to find solutions. Two heads are better than one!

Learn from your experiences.  Take time to reflect on how you solved problems in the past and learn from your successes and mistakes.

Can I be a successful problem solver without being creative?

Yes, you can be a successful problem solver without being creative. While creativity can help you develop unique solutions to problems, it is not the only skill needed for problem-solving.

Logical thinking, research, analytical skills, and collaboration can also help you solve problems successfully.

These skills require a deep understanding of the problem, identifying the cause and origin of the problem, gathering information, analyzing it, and finally developing a solution based on the information gathered.

A successful problem solver is one who can objectively analyze a problem and derive optimal and workable solutions that are reasonable and achievable. Thinking outside the box and being creative can be an advantage, but it is not an essential requirement for solving problems in the workplace.

How can I encourage my team to engage in problem-solving activities?

Encouraging your team to engage in problem-solving activities can help foster a culture of innovation and continuous improvement. Some ways to encourage problem-solving in the workplace include:

– Scheduling time for team brainstorming sessions or problem-solving workshops – Encouraging team members to share their ideas and perspectives – Providing opportunities for skill-building and professional development – Recognizing and rewarding team members who contribute to problem-solving efforts – Leading by example and demonstrating a commitment to problem-solving

How can I convince my employer that I have problem-solving skills?

To convince your employer that you have problem-solving skills, you need to demonstrate them in action. Here are some tips to help you showcase your skills:

Point out instances where you have successfully solved a problem:  In your resume or interview, cite specific examples of difficult workplace problems you faced and solved. Explain the steps you took, the approach you used, and the results you achieved.

Explain your problem-solving approach:  Employers are looking for a systematic approach to problem-solving that will help them achieve their goals. Describe the steps you take when confronted with a problem and how you use data and other resources to determine the root cause of the problem.

Quantify your successes:  Be as specific as possible about the results you achieved in solving a problem. Did you increase the company’s revenue or save them money? Provide data that shows the impact of your solution.

Market yourself as a lifelong learner:  Employers know that not every problem has a defined solution. Therefore, it is valuable to have a candidate who is willing to learn and adapt to changes in the company.

Highlight this by talking about additional training or certifications you are pursuing to further enhance your problem-solving skills.

How can I tell if my problem-solving efforts are successful?

The success of a problem-solving effort can be measured in different ways, depending on the problem you’re trying to solve. However, there are some signs that your problem-solving is on the right track:

Clarity:  You have a clear understanding of the problem and what you’re trying to accomplish.

Solution:  You have found a solution that is effective and has already been implemented.

Feedback:  You have received feedback from colleagues, supervisors, or customers that the problem has been solved.

Continuous improvement:  You continuously reflect on and improve your problem-solving tactics and approaches.

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  • Turn your team into skilled problem sol ...

Turn your team into skilled problem solvers with these problem-solving strategies

Sarah Laoyan contributor headshot

Picture this, you're handling your daily tasks at work and your boss calls you in and says, "We have a problem." 

Unfortunately, we don't live in a world in which problems are instantly resolved with the snap of our fingers. Knowing how to effectively solve problems is an important professional skill to hone. If you have a problem that needs to be solved, what is the right process to use to ensure you get the most effective solution?

In this article we'll break down the problem-solving process and how you can find the most effective solutions for complex problems.

What is problem solving? 

Problem solving is the process of finding a resolution for a specific issue or conflict. There are many possible solutions for solving a problem, which is why it's important to go through a problem-solving process to find the best solution. You could use a flathead screwdriver to unscrew a Phillips head screw, but there is a better tool for the situation. Utilizing common problem-solving techniques helps you find the best solution to fit the needs of the specific situation, much like using the right tools.

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4 steps to better problem solving

While it might be tempting to dive into a problem head first, take the time to move step by step. Here’s how you can effectively break down the problem-solving process with your team:

1. Identify the problem that needs to be solved

One of the easiest ways to identify a problem is to ask questions. A good place to start is to ask journalistic questions, like:

Who : Who is involved with this problem? Who caused the problem? Who is most affected by this issue?

What: What is happening? What is the extent of the issue? What does this problem prevent from moving forward?

Where: Where did this problem take place? Does this problem affect anything else in the immediate area? 

When: When did this problem happen? When does this problem take effect? Is this an urgent issue that needs to be solved within a certain timeframe?

Why: Why is it happening? Why does it impact workflows?

How: How did this problem occur? How is it affecting workflows and team members from being productive?

Asking journalistic questions can help you define a strong problem statement so you can highlight the current situation objectively, and create a plan around that situation.

Here’s an example of how a design team uses journalistic questions to identify their problem:

Overarching problem: Design requests are being missed

Who: Design team, digital marketing team, web development team

What: Design requests are forgotten, lost, or being created ad hoc.

Where: Email requests, design request spreadsheet

When: Missed requests on January 20th, January 31st, February 4th, February 6th

How : Email request was lost in inbox and the intake spreadsheet was not updated correctly. The digital marketing team had to delay launching ads for a few days while design requests were bottlenecked. Designers had to work extra hours to ensure all requests were completed.

In this example, there are many different aspects of this problem that can be solved. Using journalistic questions can help you identify different issues and who you should involve in the process.

2. Brainstorm multiple solutions

If at all possible, bring in a facilitator who doesn't have a major stake in the solution. Bringing an individual who has little-to-no stake in the matter can help keep your team on track and encourage good problem-solving skills.

Here are a few brainstorming techniques to encourage creative thinking:

Brainstorm alone before hand: Before you come together as a group, provide some context to your team on what exactly the issue is that you're brainstorming. This will give time for you and your teammates to have some ideas ready by the time you meet.

Say yes to everything (at first): When you first start brainstorming, don't say no to any ideas just yet—try to get as many ideas down as possible. Having as many ideas as possible ensures that you’ll get a variety of solutions. Save the trimming for the next step of the strategy. 

Talk to team members one-on-one: Some people may be less comfortable sharing their ideas in a group setting. Discuss the issue with team members individually and encourage them to share their opinions without restrictions—you might find some more detailed insights than originally anticipated.

Break out of your routine: If you're used to brainstorming in a conference room or over Zoom calls, do something a little different! Take your brainstorming meeting to a coffee shop or have your Zoom call while you're taking a walk. Getting out of your routine can force your brain out of its usual rut and increase critical thinking.

3. Define the solution

After you brainstorm with team members to get their unique perspectives on a scenario, it's time to look at the different strategies and decide which option is the best solution for the problem at hand. When defining the solution, consider these main two questions: What is the desired outcome of this solution and who stands to benefit from this solution? 

Set a deadline for when this decision needs to be made and update stakeholders accordingly. Sometimes there's too many people who need to make a decision. Use your best judgement based on the limitations provided to do great things fast.

4. Implement the solution

To implement your solution, start by working with the individuals who are as closest to the problem. This can help those most affected by the problem get unblocked. Then move farther out to those who are less affected, and so on and so forth. Some solutions are simple enough that you don’t need to work through multiple teams.

After you prioritize implementation with the right teams, assign out the ongoing work that needs to be completed by the rest of the team. This can prevent people from becoming overburdened during the implementation plan . Once your solution is in place, schedule check-ins to see how the solution is working and course-correct if necessary.

Implement common problem-solving strategies

There are a few ways to go about identifying problems (and solutions). Here are some strategies you can try, as well as common ways to apply them:

Trial and error

Trial and error problem solving doesn't usually require a whole team of people to solve. To use trial and error problem solving, identify the cause of the problem, and then rapidly test possible solutions to see if anything changes. 

This problem-solving method is often used in tech support teams through troubleshooting.

The 5 whys problem-solving method helps get to the root cause of an issue. You start by asking once, “Why did this issue happen?” After answering the first why, ask again, “Why did that happen?” You'll do this five times until you can attribute the problem to a root cause. 

This technique can help you dig in and find the human error that caused something to go wrong. More importantly, it also helps you and your team develop an actionable plan so that you can prevent the issue from happening again.

Here’s an example:

Problem: The email marketing campaign was accidentally sent to the wrong audience.

“Why did this happen?” Because the audience name was not updated in our email platform.

“Why were the audience names not changed?” Because the audience segment was not renamed after editing. 

“Why was the audience segment not renamed?” Because everybody has an individual way of creating an audience segment.

“Why does everybody have an individual way of creating an audience segment?” Because there is no standardized process for creating audience segments. 

“Why is there no standardized process for creating audience segments?” Because the team hasn't decided on a way to standardize the process as the team introduced new members. 

In this example, we can see a few areas that could be optimized to prevent this mistake from happening again. When working through these questions, make sure that everyone who was involved in the situation is present so that you can co-create next steps to avoid the same problem. 

A SWOT analysis

A SWOT analysis can help you highlight the strengths and weaknesses of a specific solution. SWOT stands for:

Strength: Why is this specific solution a good fit for this problem? 

Weaknesses: What are the weak points of this solution? Is there anything that you can do to strengthen those weaknesses?

Opportunities: What other benefits could arise from implementing this solution?

Threats: Is there anything about this decision that can detrimentally impact your team?

As you identify specific solutions, you can highlight the different strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of each solution. 

This particular problem-solving strategy is good to use when you're narrowing down the answers and need to compare and contrast the differences between different solutions. 

Even more successful problem solving

After you’ve worked through a tough problem, don't forget to celebrate how far you've come. Not only is this important for your team of problem solvers to see their work in action, but this can also help you become a more efficient, effective , and flexible team. The more problems you tackle together, the more you’ll achieve. 

Looking for a tool to help solve problems on your team? Track project implementation with a work management tool like Asana .

7 Easy Problem Solving Activities – How Your Team Benefits From Them

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Sandeep Kashyap

Problem solving activities

“Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines.” – Robert Schuller

Let’s face it – we cannot expect life in the workplace (or in general) to be a short, smooth road without any bumps, potholes, and speed breaks. Problems, small or big, will be there while we work. 

The way we react to problems at the workplace says a lot about our problem solving skills, and this is one area where good teams outshine mediocre ones. We should be confident in overcoming challenges that we encounter in the middle of small or large tasks and projects.

Problem solving and decision-making go hand in hand at work, but the question is – “ Do we really know how to be good at problem-solving or how many of us have been trained for it? 

Generally, when faced with problems, many employees tend to: get nervous and wish it would go away, they feel they have to create a solution, and it has to be the right one, and they look for someone to put all the blame on.

Guess what happens? Dealing with a problem becomes a problem itself!  

Indeed, this is not how you would want problems to be handled within your team. As a leader of the pack, you have to take the initiative to make your team better at generating solutions when things will go haywire.

Problem solving activities can be a great way to know how team members identify problems, the way they react to them, how quickly they can find potential solutions, and then implement the best one. 

Start managing your teams and projects efficiently with ProofHub!

When working with a team, there is not one but several types of problems that might occur. Move on to the next section to understand some common problems that can crop up while you navigate your team at work. 

Table of Contents

1. Human Knots

2. a shrinking vessel, 3. marshmallow spaghetti tower, 4. frostbite, 5. egg drop, 6. dumbest idea first , lack of mutual trust, not having a central location for information sharing, lack of transparency, poor communication , lack of purpose , conflict and tension , uncertainty of roles , lack of motivation , 1. better thinking , 2. better risk handling , 3. better communication , 4. improved productivity output , some powerful features of proofhub include: , the final thought, 7 of the easiest problem solving activities for teams of all sizes.

There are some amazing activities out there that can work really well for team building. These will help you put your team’s problem-solving abilities to test while they learn how to bring their best qualities forward for effective collaboration.

These problem solving games will break the monotony at the workplace and help you build a more inclusive and welcoming environment for the whole team. Here are some the easiest activities that will help bring substantial change to your team culture and the workplace as a whole.

Helps With: Collaboration & Communication Skills 

Estimated Time: 15-20 minutes

Things You’ll Need: Nothing 

How To Do It: 

Make your team stand in a small circle. If your team is large, then you can divide it into smaller groups and make them stand in multiple circles. Each person should hold the hands of two other people standing in the circle, but not of those who are standing directly beside them. 

This should result in creating a “human knot.” The fun part (also the challenging) begins now. Ask each member of the group to untangle themselves without letting go of each other’s hands. You can set a time limit if you want. You can watch your team members as they work out moves to untangle their bodies. 

This activity gives them a chance to communicate and collaborate with each other to solve the problem quickly. They may or may not fully entangle themselves but would have started to work together to solve the problem. 

Why Communication Is Essential To Problem Solving – 

When working as a team, no problem is big enough. A bunch of committed individuals can collaborate to overcome even the most difficult of hurdles. When all team members come together and put in a joint effort, the problem is likely to get resolved sooner than later.

Having problems communicating your ideas to the team? Use ProofHub discussions to keep track of ideas and important pitches.

Helps With : Adaptability & Quick Thinking 

Estimated Time: 10-15 Minutes 

Things You’ll Need: A rope and a ball of yarn 

Take a rope and place it on the floor in a particular shape such that all your team members can stand inside it. If your team is large, you can use multiple ropes and divide your team into smaller groups. 

The challenging part starts when all team members are made to stand inside the rope, and you start to shrink the rope slowly. As space reduces, team members will have to make subtle adjustments to maintain their position as well as balance inside the shrinking circle. 

No one should step outside the circle. The challenge before your team is to quickly think together about how to keep everyone inside the circle. 

Why Adaptability Is Essential To Problem Solving – 

This amazingly effective problem-solving activity is for teams who are facing adaptability issues. Adaptability and cognitive diversity go hand in hand, which enables your team to work out things faster. People and organizations that can adapt quickly usually come out on top because they can condition themselves to change circumstances and environments and take on board new ideas and concepts.  

Helps With: Collaboration 

Estimated Time: 20-30 Minutes 

Things You’ll Need (per team): 

  • 20 sticks of uncooked spaghetti
  • 1 marshmallow
  • A yard of string
  • A single roll of masking tape  

Ask your team to utilize all the available materials to construct the tallest tower within a specific time period. The tower must stand on its own and be able to support a marshmallow. 

And the point behind this problem-solving activity is to train the team to think on their feet while encouraging prototyping and iteration. This activity also helps to promote and build strong camaraderie and leadership. 

Why Collaboration Is Essential To Problem Solving – 

Peter Singe, in the Fifth Discipline , writes, “ Collectively, we can be more insightful, more intelligent than we can possibly be individually .” This means we can solve problems better when working as a team than we can alone. 

This problem-solving activity puts emphasis on team collaboration, which is crucial for the success of any group, irrespective of its size. It also shows that success is dependent upon close collaboration between team members.

Helps With: Decision Making, Trust, Leadership

Things You’ll Need: 

  • An electric fan 
  • Construction materials (toothpicks, cardstock, rubber bands, sticky notes, etc.)

Divide your team into groups of 4-5 people each (applicable for large teams). Each team should have its leader to guide them. Remember, team leaders, are not allowed to use their hands in any way to help their respective groups. Now, the fun part of this problem-solving activity is that team members are blindfolded, so they can’t use their hands! 

Every team is given 30 minutes to build a tent. The time is set to create a sense of urgency within the team. For example, give your team a scenario where they have to make a tent to save themselves from approaching thunderstorms. The tent should be able to withstand high winds from the storm.

After the game is over, you can turn on the fan to see which tent is able to stand on its own even after withstanding winds blowing at high speed. 

This problem-solving activity aims to improve the listening skills of team members in order to execute the task as per the leader’s instructions. 

Why Decision Making Is Essential To Problem Solving – 

When managing teams and projects , team managers are burdened with the responsibility of making decisions that concern all. Decision-making is essential to problem-solving because if the right decision is taken at the right time, then it could lead to resolving the problem, which eventually benefits the entire team and the organization. 

Helps With: Decision Making & Collaboration 

  • A carton of eggs
  • Construction materials (balloons, rubber bands, straws, tape, plastic wrap, etc.)
  • A place where you can let things get messy! 

How to Do It: 

Give a single egg to each team and let it choose randomly from different construction materials. The task that is to be assigned to each team is that it has to create a carrier for an egg that prevents it from breaking. 

Once teams are done with creating carriers, place an egg in them and drop them (from over a ledge or a balcony), one by one. The purpose is to find which team’s carrier (s) can save an egg from breaking.  

If multiple eggs remain unbroken, you can keep increasing the height of the fall to find out the last egg that survives even after falling from more height. The winning team is the one that created the most durable carrier that survived until the last.  

The idea behind this problem-solving activity is to encourage all members of the team to work together towards achieving the common goal. 

Why Teamwork Is Essential To Problem Solving – 

Joint efforts by a group of individuals to achieve the set target by utilizing limited resources can save valuable time, money, and resources for the organization. 

How It Helps: Critical Thinking & Creative Problem Solving 

Estimated Time: 15-20 minutes 

Things You’ll Need: A piece of paper, pen, and pencil 

As the name of this problem-solving activity suggests, the idea is to present a problem to your team and ask them to quickly come up with the dumbest ideas for the problem at hand. This could be a real-world problem that your team is facing, or it could be an imagined scenario. 

Once all team members have written down the dumbest ideas, they could think of, evaluate every idea to determine which ones are most likely to work and which ones are least likely to be seen as a viable solution that can work. 

How Critical Thinking Is Essential To Problem Solving – Some problems need  to be solved by out-of-the-box thinking. Creative problem-solving ideas might sound unorthodox to work, but these give you additional options to consider. You can discover some solutions that might not be obvious to start with but can be incredibly effective in delivering expected results. 

Brainstorm these dumb (or not so dumb) ideas in ProofHub through online chat. And start your uninterrupted collaborative journey for FREE today. 

How It Helps: Communication, Problem-solving, & Management

  • A lockable room
  • 5-10 puzzles or clue 

Hike the key and a list of clues around the room. Ask team members to solve all the clues to find the key and unlock the room to escape within the allotted time. Hide the clues and, most importantly, the key around the room. 

Ask all team members to enter the room and lock the door. Give them 30 minutes or 1 hour to find the key using the clues hidden in the room. This problem solving activity can really get your team going up and running as they race against the time to find a solution to the problem in hand. 

How Putting Intensive Efforts Is Essential To Problem Solving – Complex problems require an intensive team effort. Your team can achieve specific, time-bound goals by collaborating closely and thinking quickly under pressure.

What Team Problems Are These Activities Going To Solve?

Trust is the basis of strong relationships . No team can hope to achieve success if members do not want to engage with each other and make that human connection that is so vital for them for better collaboration.

Easy Problem Solving Activities

Team members should first know each other well, both professionally and personally, primarily before they are assigned a large, complex project where tensions will run high at some point. 

When some team members do not get easy access to crucial information related to a project, it can lead to a dreaded information gap within the team. Scattered information makes matters worse for managers and team members.

Information Sharing 

  Having all the information stored and organized in a single location, in the form of files and folders, makes information accessibility easy for all team members. Team members can collaborate on them effectively , review, proof, and share feedback at one place , which saves a whole lot of time.  

“According to an American Psychological Association survey that spoke to more than 1,500 workers , it was found that 50% didn’t feel that their employers shared the information they required to be successful within their jobs.”

For any project to be a success, teams, managers, and clients must be on the same page. Without transparency, the trust will take a backseat within the team, and it can lead to a plethora of problems that can spell doomsday for the company. 

Transparency

The task of establishing transparency starts at the top. Project managers are responsible for setting a prime example for their team members in terms of the way they conduct themselves. Employees are likely to follow their leader’s behaviors, positive or negative, and it becomes your responsibility to inspire them through positive actions.  

“David Grossman reported in “The Cost of Poor Communications” that a survey of 400 companies with 100,000 employees each cited an average loss per company of $62.4 million per year because of inadequate communication to and between employees.”

Poor Communication

Poor communication happens when it doesn’t happen regularly across the team, and not all members participate in it. It can also occur when team members interrupt one another, maintain silence, indicate problems but fail to address them formally. Some members may nod in agreement but may not agree in reality. 

Using different communication modes can bridge the gap between team members. At the same time, encouraging members to share their ideas and concerns openly can also help clear any misunderstandings, doubts, and confusion. 

“ One in two employees report that their jobs lack purpose, and an equal number feel disconnected from their company’s mission.”

Lack Of Purpose 

If I think about the teams I least enjoyed working with, they were the ones that had a vague understanding of what exactly their purpose was and how they plan to achieve that goal . It’s hard to put in your best efforts when you don’t know the purpose behind the work you’re doing. The most satisfying teamwork occurs where the purpose is well-defined and team members are aligned with each other. 

“ $359 billion in paid hours or the equivalent of 385 million working days are lost each year due to workplace conflict.”   

Conflict And Tension

Conflicts and tension can be healthy and trigger useful debates if managed carefully. However, team members can cross the line often. The negative effects of workplace conflict include, but are not limited to, poor productivity, absenteeism, work disruptions, project failure , lower retention rates, and termination. Different opinions in the workplace are common, but it’s their mishandling that can spell troubles for an organization.

Team leaders can practice constructive criticism to make employees realize their shortcomings without making them feel humiliated. You can appreciate their strong points but should not hesitate in pointing out their weaknesses (in performance or conduct) in an affirmative tone.  

This is a common problem, especially among large teams. Some team members are not clear of their roles; what are they supposed to do, and when. At the end of the day, the blame game happens. Team members blame their managers and vice versa, and it’s all due to poor task management. 

roles

By creating and assigning custom roles , managers can allow team members or clients to do things that fall under their work domain and job responsibilities. 

“When managers recognize employees’ contribution, their engagement increases by 60%”.

Having demotivated employees working for you is probably the biggest misfortune of your organization. However, have you ever tried to find out the reason for some of your employees losing motivation? It can be due to not being appreciated at work , not feeling like a part of the team, personal reasons, etc. 

Lack Of Motivation 

Whatever the reason may be, a team manager should quickly confront the situation to solve it for good. Having one-on-one discussions with team members can go a long way in helping you to know about the exact reasons behind their below-par performance and come up with effective solutions. 

4 Reasons Why These Problem-Solving Activities Will Work For Your Team

“ But how problem-solving activities are going to help me, my team members, and the organization?” Many readers, especially team managers, must be having this question in mind while reading this article.  

I understand that readers want to know how problem solving activities can benefit them. So, I have prepared a list of pros of such activities to develop positivity at the workplace. Read on to know more about it. 

Problem-solving activities help in bringing about the best in every member of the team. Every member enthusiastically puts forth his unique idea of solving the problem. This helps team managers to weigh in different solutions for resolving a problem and then choose the most suitable one. In other words, this process stimulates better thinking. 

think

For example – A remote team with widely dispersed members was struggling with a lack of communication . Emails and texting were just not good enough. Mike was leading the team, and he asked all members to suggest ways to improve communication within the remote team . 

John suggested using online chat software for instant group or individual chat, Sid suggested using video conferencing software for daily team meetings, and Shane suggested using telephonic calls, texting, and emails for official communication. 

As a result of quick thinking and sharing of ideas, Mike and his team benefited greatly by using different communication modes to share information and feedback easily.  

Some people can handle a higher amount of risk. It’s because they have successfully dealt with difficult situations before. Team problem solving activities help in conditioning the minds of individuals so they can respond to stressful situations better. 

risk handling

Regular communication between team members can help to solve problems efficiently. Problem-solving activities within teams foster mutual cooperation and intra-team communication, which eventually creates a better understanding between team members. 

Communication 

“ Try ProofHub TODAY for on-time project delivery and on-point team accountability.”

When a team works as a strong unit, the company or organization experiences improved productivity, which eventually leads to improved profit margins. The involvement of managers and team members in problem solving activities can have a positive result for the company in terms of overall growth and profitability. 

Improved Productivity Output

How Management Tools Can Help You Sort Out your Team Collaboration Problems:

Even though the aforementioned problem-solving activities can be amazingly effective in enhancing collaboration and communication within your team, there’s no denying the fact that using a top-rated team collaboration and project management software like ProofHub can help team managers solve quite a few problems efficiently. 

Whether you’re having trouble with delayed communication, poor organization of files and folders, poor time management, inadequate task management , or low control over teams and projects, ProofHub is your all-in-one solution to put an end to your managerial woes and help you and your team achieve more in less. 

  • Workflows and Kanban Boards
  • Online Proofing
  • Gantt Charts
  • Online Discussions
  • Custom Reports
  • Timer and Timesheets
  • Third-party Integrations
  • Announcements
  • IP Restrictions 

Pricing –  Simple pricing for all team sizes. For information on our pricing plans, kindly visit our pricing page .

Many organizations face a plethora of problems that haunt their teams consistently. These problems have a rippling effect on the team’s performance, hamper its productivity and cause delays in the organizational goals. 

However, problem solving activities can bring all members closer as a team and encourage them to contribute to resolving problems effectively while having fun. These easy problem-solving activities can improve your team’s solutions-generating capabilities, eventually benefiting everyone.

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Seven Steps for Effective Problem Solving in the Workplace

author

Problem-solving and decision-making. Ask anyone in the workplace if these activities are part of their day and they answer ‘Yes!’ But how many of us have had training in problem-solving?  We know it’s a critical element of our work, but do we know how to do it effectively?

People tend to do three things when faced with a problem: they get afraid or uncomfortable and wish it would go away; they feel that they have to come up with an answer and it has to be the right answer; and they look for someone to blame. Being faced with a problem becomes a problem. And that’s a problem because, in fact, there are always going to be problems!

There are two reasons why we tend to see a problem as a problem: it has to be solved and we’re not sure how to find the best solution, and there will probably be conflicts about what the best solution is. Most of us tend to be “conflict-averse”. We don’t feel comfortable dealing with conflict and we tend to have the feeling that something bad is going to happen. The goal of a good problem-solving process is to make us and our organization more “conflict-friendly” and “conflict-competent”.

There are two important things to remember about problems and conflicts: they happen all the time and they are opportunities to improve the system and the relationships. They are actually providing us with information that we can use to fix what needs fixing and do a better job. Looked at in this way, we can almost begin to welcome problems! (Well, almost.)

Because people are born problem solvers, the biggest challenge is to overcome the tendency to immediately come up with a solution. Let me say that again. The most common mistake in problem solving is trying to find a solution right away. That’s a mistake because it tries to put the solution at the beginning of the process, when what we need is a solution at the end of the process.

Here are seven-steps for an effective problem-solving process.

1. Identify the issues.

  • Be clear about what the problem is.
  • Remember that different people might have different views of what the issues are.
  • Separate the listing of issues from the identification of interests (that’s the next step!).

2. Understand everyone’s interests.

  • This is a critical step that is usually missing.
  • Interests are the needs that you want satisfied by any given solution. We often ignore our true interests as we become attached to one particular solution.
  • The best solution is the one that satisfies everyone’s interests.
  • This is the time for active listening. Put down your differences for awhile and listen to each other with the intention to understand.
  • Separate the naming of interests from the listing of solutions.

3. List the possible solutions (options)

  • This is the time to do some brainstorming. There may be lots of room for creativity.
  • Separate the listing of options from the evaluation of the options.

4. Evaluate the options.

  • What are the pluses and minuses? Honestly!
  • Separate the evaluation of options from the selection of options.

5. Select an option or options.

  • What’s the best option, in the balance?
  • Is there a way to “bundle” a number of options together for a more satisfactory solution?

6. Document the agreement(s).

  • Don’t rely on memory.
  • Writing it down will help you think through all the details and implications.

7. Agree on contingencies, monitoring, and evaluation.

  • Conditions may change. Make contingency agreements about foreseeable future circumstances (If-then!).
  • How will you monitor compliance and follow-through?
  • Create opportunities to evaluate the agreements and their implementation. (“Let’s try it this way for three months and then look at it.”)

Effective problem solving does take some time and attention more of the latter than the former. But less time and attention than is required by a problem not well solved. What it really takes is a willingness to slow down. A problem is like a curve in the road. Take it right and you’ll find yourself in good shape for the straightaway that follows. Take it too fast and you may not be in as good shape.

Working through this process is not always a strictly linear exercise. You may have to cycle back to an earlier step. For example, if you’re having trouble selecting an option, you may have to go back to thinking about the interests.

This process can be used in a large group, between two people, or by one person who is faced with a difficult decision. The more difficult and important the problem, the more helpful and necessary it is to use a disciplined process. If you’re just trying to decide where to go out for lunch, you probably don’t need to go through these seven steps!

Don’t worry if it feels a bit unfamiliar and uncomfortable at first. You’ll have lots of opportunities to practice!

Tim Hicks is a conflict management professional providing mediation, facilitation, training, coaching, and consulting to individuals and organizations. From 2006 to 2014 he led the Master’s degree program in Conflict and Dispute Resolution at the University of Oregon as its first director. He returned to private practice in 2015. Tim is… MORE >

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Top 15 Problem-Solving Activities for Your Team to Master

May 27, 2022 - 10 min read

Brianna Hansen

Some people see problems as roadblocks, others see them as opportunities! Problem-solving activities are a great way to get to know how members of your team work, both individually and together. It’s important to teach your team strategies to help them quickly overcome obstacles in the way of achieving project goals.

In this article, you’ll explore 15 problem-solving activities designed to enhance collaboration and creativity. Additionally, if you want to discuss the insights and outcomes with your team after the activities, you can use Wrike’s actionable meeting notes template. This template allows you to record meeting discussions, assign action items, and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

The importance of problem-solving skills in today’s workplace

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According to a 2019  report by McKinsey , soft skills are increasingly important in today's world — and problem-solving is the top area in which skills are lacking. A company or team’s success weighs heavily on the willingness of managers to help employees improve their problem-solving abilities. Team building activities targeting focus areas like communication and collaboration, adaptability, or strengthening decision-making techniques help.

All problem-solving processes start with identifying the problem. Next, the team must assess potential courses of action and choose the best way to tackle the problem. This requires a deep understanding of your team and its core strengths. A problem-solving exercise or game helps identify those strengths and builds problem-solving skills and strategies while having fun with your team.

problem solving in the workplace scenarios

Problem-solving games aren't for just any team. Participants must have an open mind and accept all ideas and solutions . They must also have an Agile mindset and embrace different structures, planning, and processes. Problems usually arise when we least expect them, so there's no better way to prepare than to encourage agility and flexibility.

Another aspect to keep in mind when engaging in problem-solving games and activities: There are no winners or losers. Sure, some games might end with a single winner, but the true goal of these exercises is to learn how to work together as a team to develop an Agile mindset. The winning team of each game should share their strategies and thought processes at the end of the exercise to help everyone learn.

Here’s a list of fun problem-solving activity examples to try with your team. From blindfolds to raw eggs, these problem-solving, team-building activities will have your team solving problems faster than Scooby and the gang.

Classic team-building, problem-solving activities

1. a shrinking vessel.

Helps with: Adaptability

Why adaptability is important for problem-solving: Adaptability is highly associated with cognitive diversity, which helps teams solve problems faster , according to the Harvard Business Review. Innovation and disruption are happening faster than ever before . People, teams, and organizations that can adapt will come out on top.

What you’ll need:

  • A rope or string

Instructions:

1. Using the rope, make a shape on the floor everyone can fit into.

2. Slowly shrink the space over 10-15 minutes.

3. Work together to figure out how to keep everyone within the shrinking boundaries.

2. Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower

Helps with: Collaboration

Why collaboration is important for problem-solving: “Collectively, we can be more insightful, more intelligent than we can possibly be individually,” writes Peter Senge in The Fifth Discipline . We can solve problems better as a team than we can alone, which means developing your team’s collaboration skills will lead to better problem-solving outcomes.

What you’ll need (per team):

  • 20 sticks of uncooked spaghetti
  • 1 roll of masking tape
  • 1 yard of string
  • 1 marshmallow

1. The goal of this exercise is to see which team can use the materials provided to build the tallest tower within an allotted time period. The tower must be able to stand on its own.

2. To make this exercise more challenging, try adding a marshmallow to the top of the tower. This team problem-solving exercise helps people think on their toes while building camaraderie and leadership.

3. Egg Drop

Helps with: Collaboration, decision-making

Why decision-making is important for problem-solving: Making decisions isn’t easy , but indecision leads to team paralysis, stagnant thinking, and unsolved problems. Decision-making activities help your team practice making quick, effective choices. Train your team’s decision-making muscles and they will become more adept at problem-solving.

  • A carton of eggs
  • Basic construction materials such as newspapers, straws, tape, plastic wrap, balloons, rubber bands, popsicle sticks, etc., tarp, or drop cloth
  • A parking lot, or some other place you don’t mind getting messy!

1. Each team gets an egg and must select from the construction materials.

2. Give everyone 20-30 minutes to construct a carrier for the egg and protect it from breaking.

3. Drop each egg carrier off a ledge (i.e. over a balcony) and see whose carrier protects the egg from breaking.

4. If multiple eggs survive, keep increasing the height until only one egg is left.

4. Stranded

Helps with: Communication, decision-making

Why communication is important for problem-solving: More employees work remotely than ever before. Good communication skills are vital to solving problems across  virtual teams . Working on communication skills while your team is together will help them solve problems more effectively when they’re apart.

Here's the setting: Your team has been stranded in the office. The doors are locked, and knocking down the doors or breaking the windows is not an option. Give your team 30 minutes to decide on ten items in the office they need for survival and rank them in order of importance. The goal of the game is to have everyone agree on the ten items and their rankings in 30 minutes.

Creative problem-solving activities

Helps with: Communication

What you'll need:

1. Divide everyone into small teams of two or more.

2. Select an overseer who isn't on a team to build a random structure using Lego building blocks within ten minutes.

3. The other teams must replicate the structure exactly (including size and color) within 15 minutes. However, only one member from each group may look at the original structure. They must figure out how to communicate the size, color, and shape of the original structure to their team.

4. If this is too easy, add a rule that the member who can see the original structure can't touch the new structure.

  • A lockable room
  • 5-10 puzzles or clues (depending on how much time you want to spend on the game)

1. The goal of this exercise is to solve the clues, find the key, and escape a locked room within the time allotted.

2. Hide the key and a list of clues around the room.

3. Gather the team into the empty room and "lock" the door.

4. Give them 30 minutes to an hour to find the key using the clues hidden around the room.

7. Frostbite

Helps with: Decision-making, adaptability

  • A blindfold
  • 1 packet of construction materials (such as card stock, toothpicks, rubber bands, and sticky notes) for each team
  • An electric fan

Instructions:  Your employees are Arctic explorers adventuring across an icy tundra! Separate them into teams of four or five and have them select a leader to guide their exploration. Each team must build a shelter from the materials provided before the storm hits in 30 minutes. However, both the team leader’s hands have frostbite, so they can’t physically help construct the shelter, and the rest of the team has snow blindness and is unable to see. When the 30 minutes is up, turn on the fan and see which shelter can withstand the high winds of the storm.

8. Minefield

  • An empty room or hallway
  • A collection of common office items

1. Place the items (boxes, chairs, water bottles, bags, etc.) around the room so there's no clear path from one end of the room to the other.

2. Divide your team into pairs and blindfold one person on the team.

3. The other must verbally guide that person from one end of the room to the other, avoiding the "mines."

4. The partner who is not blindfolded can't touch the other.

5. If you want to make the activity more challenging, have all the pairs go simultaneously so teams must find ways to strategically communicate with each other.

9. Blind Formations

1. Have the group put on blindfolds and form a large circle.

2. Tie two ends of a rope together and lay it in a circle in the middle of the group, close enough so each person can reach down and touch it.

3. Instruct the group to communicate to create a shape with the rope — a square, triangle, rectangle, etc.

4. If you have a very large group, divide them into teams and provide a rope for each team. Let them compete to see who forms a particular shape quickest.

Quick and easy problem-solving activities

10. line up blind.

1. Blindfold everyone and whisper a number to each person, beginning with one.

2. Tell them to line up in numerical order without talking.

3. Instead of giving them a number, you could also have them line up numerically by height, age, birthday, etc.

11. Reverse Pyramid

Helps with: Adaptability, collaboration

1. Have everyone stand in a pyramid shape, horizontally.

2. Ask them to flip the base and the apex of the pyramid moving only three people.

3. This quick exercise works best when smaller groups compete to see who can reverse the pyramid the fastest.

12. Move It!

  • Chalk, rope, tape, or paper (something to mark a space)

1. Divide your group into two teams and line them up front to back, facing each other.

2. Using the chalk, tape, rope, or paper (depending on the playing surface), mark a square space for each person to stand on. Leave one extra empty space between the two facing rows.

3. The goal is for the two facing lines of players to switch places.

4. Place these restrictions on movement:

  • Only one person may move at a time.
  • A person may not move around anyone facing the same direction.
  • No one may not move backward.
  • A person may not move around more than one person on the other team at a time.

13. Human Knot

1. Have everyone stand in a circle, and ask each person to hold hands with two people who aren’t directly next to them.

2. When everyone is tangled together, ask them to untangle the knot and form a perfect circle — without letting go of anyone's hand.

Our last two problem-solving activities work best when dealing with an actual problem:

14. Dumbest Idea First

Helps with: Instant problem-solving

1. "Dumb" ideas are sometimes the best ideas. Ask everyone to think of the absolute dumbest possible solution to the problem at hand.

2. After you have a long list, look through it and see which ones might not be as dumb as you think.

3. Brainstorm your solutions in Wrike. It's free and everyone can start collaborating instantly!

15. What Would X Do

1. Have everyone pretend they're someone famous.

2. Each person must approach the problem as if they were their chosen famous person. What options would they consider? How would they handle it?

3. This allows everyone to consider solutions they might not have thought of originally.

Looking for more team-building and virtual meeting games? Check out these virtual icebreaker games or our  Ultimate Guide to Team Building Activities that Don't Suck.

Additional resources on problem-solving activities

  • Problem-Solving Model : Looking for a model to provide a problem-solving structure? This detailed guide gives you the tools to quickly solve any problem.
  • The Simplex Process:  Popularized by Min Basadur's book, The Power of Innovation , the Simplex Process provides training and techniques for each problem-solving stage. It helps frame problem-solving as a continuous cycle, rather than a “one and done” process.
  • Fun Problem-Solving Activities and Games : Looking for more ideas? Check out this list of interesting and creative problem-solving activities for adults and kids!
  • The Secret to Better Problem-Solving:  This article provides tips, use cases, and fresh examples to help you become a whiz at solving the toughest problems.

How to organize problem-solving activities with Wrike

If you want to make problem-solving activities more effective, consider using team collaboration software such as Wrike. 

Wrike’s pre-built actionable meeting notes template helps you keep track of meeting discussions, assign action items, and keep everyone in the loop. It’s an effective tool to streamline your problem-solving sessions and turn insights into real projects.

Brianna Hansen

Brianna Hansen

Brianna is a content marketing manager at Wrike. When she's not writing about collaboration and team building games, you'll find her in the kitchen testing out the latest recipes, sharing her favorite wine with friends, or playing with her two cats.

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Problem Solving in the Workplace and Problem Solving in the Workplace Scenarios

problem solving in the workplace scenarios

Developing problem solving skills for the workplace is important for all professionals, regardless of your field. However, not all problems are created equal, and the ability to solve and analyze them can vary greatly depending on the situation. In this post, we explore why problem-solving skills are important for the workplace, how to develop a framework for problem solving, scenarios, and interview prep for answering questions that deal with problem solving.

Why problem solving in the workplace is important

 “Problem solving” is a generic term, but at its core – most companies exist to solve problems and make life easier for their customers or clients. It’s critical to also have employees who adopt this mindset.

There are several reasons why problem-solving in the workplace is important, including:

 Efficiency: Employers value the ability to solve problems quickly and efficiently (for example – for less time, money or resources).

Career advancement: Individuals who demonstrate strong problem-solving skills are often seen as valuable assets to the company and may be considered for promotion or leadership positions.

Collaboration: People who are good problem solvers are often usually good collaborators and demonstrate strong team work and communication skills.

Adaptability: In today’s rapidly changing business environment, adapting to new challenges and solving problems is critical.

A framework for solving problems in the workplace

When approaching a problem, it’s important to develop a framework for how you’ll approach, evaluate, and ultimately solve problems.

Problem solving goes beyond just coming up with the solution for a problem. Along the way, you’ll want to make sure you’re thinking through multiple perspectives and approaching the issue at hand with a calm mindset.

1. Take a step back and collect yourself. How much time you have for this may depend greatly on the scenario, but make sure you’re thinking about the problem in a calm and a collected manner before you fire off a defensive email or say something you may regret. Take a quick walk, pause what you’re doing for a few minutes, or take some deep breaths.

2. Gather information. Collect as much information as possible about the problem. How urgently does it need to be fixed? Who are the stakeholders you need to keep in mind? Ask for help if you need it or assistance from others on your team who have been in similar situations.

Don’t spend too much time gathering information you won’t need or overcomplicating the problem. Simply try to gather background information or details on what led up to the problem at-hand.

3. Ask questions and brainstorm solutions. Once you understand the details of the problem, you can start brainstorming potential solutions. If a customer has asked for a refund – can you grant them a partial refund? If someone on your team is unhappy with the outcome of a project – can you work with them on your plan for next quarter?

Doing something very simple can also be away to solve a problem too. For example, let’s say a customer is asking for a report on all their performance to date, and they need it tomorrow morning. Usually, these reports take you and your team a week to do. Instead of staying up all night working on the report and sending over something the client may be disappointed with – can you ask them a few questions on what they’re looking for specifically, or if there is a key metric you can do some in-depth research on vs. writing a lengthy report? Behind many seemingly last-minute requests is often a simple reason, and you can often uncover this reason by asking more questions.  

4. Develop a plan for action. Figure out what steps you need to take, who you need to involve, and when you need to act.

Sometimes you don’t need the most elaborate solution– you just need a simple yes or no answer to give someone. Don’t overcomplicate a solution.

5. Over-communicate. This is especially important if the problem you’re solving is customer-facing or high visibility. You want to make sure others involved know that you’re working on a solution. If people don’t hear anything back, or feel like you’re going silent – they often assume you’re not working on it anymore or you don’t care (even if this couldn’t be further from the truth!).

Over-communication can take several forms, including sending progress updates, sharing email or Slack updates (or even setting up a dedicated Slack channel), and

6. Keep track of your learnings. As you learn how to solve problems or deal with certain situations, write down or save your steps somewhere where you won’t forget them. You may want to refer to these at a future date or share with a future person in your role.

Problem solving in the workplace scenarios

If you’re interviewing at new companies or want to share with your manager how you’ve been successful at problem solving in the past, you may want to reflect on some scenarios where you’ve solved problems. These can look like:

1. An unhappy customer has lodged a complaint about a service: In this scenario, you would need to investigate the complaint (i.e. gather more information), discover the cause of the problem, and develop a plan to solve the issue. This could look like offering a full or partial refund, a replacement, or an additional guarantee or future discount. This is one where they are often many solutions – you can be creative!

2. A project is behind schedule: This one is all too common – you have plans in place to finish a project by a certain date, or hit a certain milestone, but it becomes clear you’re not going to achieve your goal.  

3. A team member you manage is consistently underperforming: If a team member is not meeting expectations, it’s important to identify the root cause of the problem and work with the employee to understand why. Are there miscommunication issues? Are they aware of the problem? Once you have a discussion, you can work with them to establish a plan for improvement.This can look like additional training, setting goals with shorter time frames, or discussing some variation of a Performance Improvement Plan for which if changes aren’t made by a certain date, disciplinary action will be taken.

4. Communication between teams is poor: Let’s say you’re a member of the engineering team, and you’re having a difficult time communicating with the product team – they’re developing their own features and are giving directions different from what you’ve discussed. To solve this problem, you may need to gather more information about why the communication gaps are occurring and think through solutions that allow both teams to meet their needs. This solution could be implementing new communication protocols, providing additional training, or establishing new meeting times to clear up any confusion.  

How to answer the interview question, “Tell me about a scenario when you had to solve a problem in the workplace?”

Developing problem solving skills isn’t only important for when you’re on the job, or for growing into a new role in your company. Speaking about how you approach problem solving is also important for interviewing.

When you interview for new roles, you’ll probably be asked about a time when you had to problem-solve a difficult situation, or how you would solve a particular scenario the interview gives.

When preparing an answer to this common question, stick to the STAR method – Situation, Task, Action, and Result. Use the scenarios above as thought starters and write out an answer demonstrating how you dealt with a problem outlining the Situation (background and actions leading up to the problem),Task (your involvement), Action (your plan), and Result (what happened as a result of implementing your plan).  

STAR can apply to either a real situation you faced, or a hypothetical one. Practice your answer, or multiple answers, and you’ll be ready to share how you had to solve a problem in the workplace.

What have been some of your favorite, or most effective approaches to problem solving in the workplace? 

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17 Unbeatable Team Building Problem Solving Activities

17 Unbeatable Team Building Problem Solving Activities featured image

Problem-solving is a critical skill for professionals and with team building problem-solving activities, you can sharpen your skills while having fun at the same time.  

Updated on August 31, 2021

In the professional world, one thing is for sure: problem-solving is a vital skill if you want to survive and thrive. It’s a universal job skill that organizations seek in new potential employees and that managers look for when considering candidates for promotions.  

But there’s a problem.  According to Payscale , 60% of managers feel that new grads entering the workforce lack problem-solving abilities – making it the most commonly lacked soft skill.  

Problem-solving skill needs to be practiced and perfected on an ongoing basis in order to be applied effectively when the time comes. And while there are tons of traditional approaches to becoming a better problem-solver, there’s another (much more interesting) option: team building problem solving activities. 

The good news? This means learning and having fun don’t have to be mutually exclusive. And you can create a stronger team at the same time. 

11 In-Person Team Building Problem Solving Activities for Your Work Group  

1. cardboard boat building challenge, 2. egg drop , 3. clue murder mystery, 4. marshmallow spaghetti tower  , 5. corporate escape room, 6. wild goose chase, 7. lost at sea  , 8. domino effect challenge, 9. reverse pyramid  , 10. ci: the crime investigators, 11. team pursuit, 5 virtual team building problem solving activities for your work group  , 1. virtual escape room: mummy’s curse, 2. virtual clue murder mystery, 3. virtual escape room: jewel heist, 4. virtual code break  , 5. virtual trivia time machine.

  • 6. Virtual Jeoparty Social

There are a ton of incredible team building problem solving activities available. We’ve hand-picked 11 of our favorites that we think your corporate group will love too. 

a cardboard boat building challenge for problem solving team building

Split into teams and create a cardboard boat made out of just the materials provided: cardboard and tape. Team members will have to work together to engineer a functional boat that will float and sail across water without sinking. Once teams have finished making their boats, they will create a presentation to explain why their boat is the best, before putting their boats to the test. The final challenge will have teams racing their boats to test their durability! Nothing says problem-solving like having to make sure you don’t sink into the water!

egg drop is a great team building problem solving activity

Every day at work, you’re forced to make countless decisions – whether they’re massively important or so small you barely think about them.  

But your ability to effectively make decisions is critical in solving problems quickly and effectively.  

With a classic team building problem solving activity like the Egg Drop, that’s exactly what your team will learn to do. 

For this activity, you’ll need some eggs, construction materials, and a place you wouldn’t mind smashing getting dirty with eggshells and yolks.  

The goal of this activity is to create a contraption that will encase an egg and protect it from a fall – whether it’s from standing height or the top of a building. But the challenge is that you and your team will only have a short amount of time to build it before it’s time to test it out, so you’ll have to think quickly! 

To make it even more challenging, you’ll have to build the casing using only simple materials like: 

  • Newspapers 
  • Plastic wrap
  • Rubber bands
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Cotton balls

Feel free to have some fun in picking the materials. Use whatever you think would be helpful without making things too easy! 

Give your group 15 minutes to construct their egg casing before each team drops their eggs. If multiple eggs survive, increase the height gradually to see whose created the sturdiest contraption.  

If you’re not comfortable with the idea of using eggs for this activity, consider using another breakable alternative, such as lightbulbs for a vegan Egg Drop experience. 

solving a crime is a great way to practice problem solving skills

With Clue Murder Mystery, your team will need to solve the murder of a man named Neil Davidson by figuring out who had the means, motive, and opportunity to commit the crime.

But it won’t be easy! You’ll need to exercise your best problem-solving skills and channel your inner detectives if you want to keep this case from going cold and to get justice for the victim.

do a spaghetti tower for team building problem solving activity

Collaboration is critical to problem solving. 

Why? Because, as the old saying goes, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This expression reflects the fact that people are capable of achieving greater things when they work together to do so. 

If you’re looking for a team building problem solving activity that helps boost collaboration, you’ll love Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower.  

This game involves working in teams to build the tallest possible freestanding tower using only marshmallows, uncooked spaghetti, tape, and string.  

The kicker? This all has to be done within an allotted timeframe. We recommend about thirty minutes.  

For an added dimension of challenge, try adding a marshmallow to the top of the tower to make it a little more top heavy.  

Whichever team has the highest tower when time runs out is the winner! 

corporate escape rooms are unique team building problem solving activities

If you’ve never participated in an escape room, your team is missing out! It’s one of the most effective team building problem solving activities out there because it puts you and your colleagues in a scenario where the only way out is collaboratively solving puzzles and deciphering clues.  

The principle is simple: lock your group in a room, hide the key somewhere in that room, and have them work through challenges within a set time frame. Each challenge will lead them one step closer to finding the key and, ultimately, their escape.    

At Outback, we offer “done-for-you” escape rooms where we’ll transform your office or meeting room so you don’t have to worry about:

  • Seeking transportation for your team 
  • Capacity of the escape rooms  
  • High costs 
  • Excessive planning  

That way, you and your team can simply step inside and get to work collaborating, using creative problem solving, and thinking outside the box.   

wild goose chase is a great scavenger hunt problem solving team building activity for work

In this smartphone-based scavenger hunt team building activity , your group will split into teams and complete fun challenges by taking photos and videos around the city. Some examples of challenges you can do in this activity are:

  • Parkour:  Take a picture of three team members jumping over an object that’s at least waist-high.
  • Beautiful Mind:  Snap a photo of a team member proving a well-known mathematical theorem on a chalkboard.
  • Puppy Love:  Take a photo of all of your team members petting a stranger’s dog at the same time.

It takes a ton of critical thinking and problem-solving to be crowned the Wild Goose Chase Champions!

your teammates will love lost at sea team building activity

Can you imagine a higher-pressure situation than being stranded at sea in a lifeboat with your colleagues? 

With this team building problem solving activity, that’s exactly the situation you and your group will put yourselves. But by the time the activity is over, you’ll have gained more experience with the idea of having to solve problems under pressure – a common but difficult thing to do. 

Here’s how it works. 

Each team member will get a six-columned chart where: 

  • The first column lists the survival items each team has on hand (see the list below) 
  • The second column is empty so that each team member can rank the items in order of importance for survival  
  • The third column is for group rankings  
  • The fourth column is for the “correct” rankings, which are revealed at the end of the activity 
  • The fifth and sixth columns are for the team to enter thee difference between their individual and correct scores and the team and correct rankings 

Within this activity, each team will be equipped with the following “survival items,” listed below in order of importance, as well as a pack of matches:  

  • A shaving mirror (this can be used to signal passing ships using the sun) 
  • A can of gas (could be used for signaling as it could be put in the water and lit with the pack of matches) 
  • A water container (for collecting water to re-hydrate) 
  • Emergency food rations (critical survival food) 
  • One plastic sheet (can be helpful for shelter or to collect rainwater) 
  • Chocolate bars (another food supply) 
  • Fishing rods (helpful, but no guarantee of catching food) 
  • Rope (can be handy, but not necessarily essential for survival) 
  • A floating seat cushion (usable as a life preserver)  
  • Shark repellant (could be important when in the water) 
  • A bottle of rum (could be useful for cleaning wounds) 
  • A radio (could be very helpful but there’s a good chance you’re out of range) 
  • A sea chart (this is worthless without navigation equipment) 
  • A mosquito net (unless you’ve been shipwrecked somewhere with a ton of mosquitos, this isn’t very useful) 

To get the activity underway, divide your group into teams of five and ask each team member to take ten minutes on their own to rank the items in order of importance in the respective column. Then, give the full team ten minutes as a group to discuss their individual rankings together and take group rankings, listed in that respective column. Ask each group to compare their individual rankings with those of the group as a whole. 

Finally, read out the correct order according to the US Coast Guard, listed above.  

The goal of this activity is for everyone to be heard and to come to a decision together about what they need most to survive.  

If your team works remotely, you can also do this activity online. Using a video conferencing tool like  Zoom , you can bring your group together and separate teams into “break-out rooms” where they’ll take their time individually and then regroup together. At the end, you can bring them back to the full video conference to go through the answers together. 

colleagues thinking outside the box with a domino effect challenge team building problem solving activity

Many problems are intricately complex and involve a ton of moving parts. And in order to solve this type of problem, you need to be able to examine it systematically, one piece at a time.  

Especially in the business world, many problems or challenges involve multiple different teams or departments working through their respective portions of a problem before coming together in the end to create a holistic solution. 

As you can imagine, this is often easier said than done. And that’s why it’s so important to practice this ability.  

With a collaborative team building problem solving activity like Domino Effect Challenge, that’s exactly what you’ll need to do as you and your group work to create a massive, fully functional chain reaction machine. 

Here’s how it goes. 

Your group will break up into teams, with each team working to complete their own section of a massive “Rube Goldberg” machine. Then, all teams will regroup and assemble the entire machine together. You’ll need to exercise communication, collaboration, and on-the-fly problem solving in order to make your chain reaction machine go off without a hitch from start to finish. 

reverse pyramid is a team building activity that makes colleagues think about problems in new ways

Being a great problem-solver means being adaptable and creative. And if you’re looking for a quick and easy team building problem solving activity, you’ll love the reverse pyramid. 

The idea here is simple: break your group out into small teams and then stand in the form of a pyramid.  

Your challenge is to flip the base and the peak of the pyramid – but you can only move three people in order to do so.  

Alternatively, rather than doing this activity with people as the pyramid, you can do another version –  the Pyramid Build  – using plastic cups instead.   

This version is a little bit different. Rather than flipping the base of a pyramid to the top, you’ll need to build the pyramid instead–but in reverse, starting from the top cup and working down. 

With this version, you’ll need 36 cups and one table per group. We recommend groups of five to seven people. Give your group 20 to 30 minutes to complete the activity. 

To get started, place one cup face down. Then, lift that cup and place the subsequent two cups underneath it. 

The real challenge here? You can only lift your pyramid by the bottom row in order to put a new row underneath – and only one person at a time can do the lifting. The remaining group members will need to act quickly and work together in order to add the next row so that it will balance the rest of the pyramid. 

If any part of your pyramid falls, you’ll need to start over. Whichever team has the most complete pyramid when time runs out will be the winner!  

solving a crime is a great way for team members to use problem solving skills

The value of being able to approach problems analytically can’t be overstated. Because when problems arise, the best way to solve them is by examining the facts and making a decision based on what you know. 

With CI: The Crime Investigators, this is exactly what your team will be called upon to do as you put your detective’s hats on and work to solve a deadly crime. 

You’ll be presented with evidence and need to uncover and decipher clues. And using only the information at your disposal, you’ll need to examine the facts in order to crack the case. 

Like many of our team building problem solving activities, CI: The Crime Investigators is available in a hosted format, which can take place at your office or an outside venue, as well as a virtually-hosted format that uses video conferencing tools, or a self-hosted version that you can run entirely on your own.  

team pursuit team building is great for problem solving skills

Each member of your team has their own unique strengths and skills. And by learning to combine those skills, you can overcome any challenge and solve any problem. With Team Pursuit, you and your team together to tackle challenges as you learn new things about one another, discover your hidden talents, and learn to rely on each other.

This team building problem solving activity is perfect for high-energy groups that love to put their heads together and work strategically to solve problems as a group.

colleagues doing a virtual team building problem solving activity

If you and your team are working remotely, don’t worry. You still have a ton of great virtual team building problem solving options at your disposal.

virtual escape room mummys curse

In this virtual escape room experience, your team will be transported into a pyramid cursed by a restless mummy. You’ll have to work together to uncover clues and solve complex challenges to lift the ancient curse.

team members doing a fun virtual clue murder mystery

You’ve probably never heard of a man named Neil Davidson. But your group will need to come together to solve the mystery of his murder by analyzing clues, resolving challenges, and figuring out who had the means, motive, and opportunity to commit a deadly crime. 

This activity will challenge you and your group to approach problems analytically, read between the lines, and use critical thinking in order to identify a suspect and deliver justice.  

escape rooms are fun and unique team building problem solving activities

If you and your team like brainteasers, then Virtual Escape Room: Jewel Heist will be a big hit.  

Here’s the backstory.

There’s been a robbery. Someone has masterminded a heist to steal a priceless collection of precious jewels, and it’s up to you and your team to recover them before time runs out.

Together, you’ll need to uncover hidden clues and solve a series of brain-boggling challenges that require collaboration, creative problem-solving, and outside-the-box thinking. But be quick! The clock is ticking before the stolen score is gone forever.

try virtual code break as a way to use problem solving skills with teammates

With Virtual Code Break, you and your team can learn to be adaptive and dynamic in your thinking in order to tackle any new challenges that come your way. In this activity, your group will connect on a video conferencing platform where your event host will split you out into teams. Together, you’ll have to adapt your problem-solving skills as you race against the clock to tackle a variety of mixed brainteaser challenges ranging from Sudoku to puzzles, a game of Cranium, riddles, and even trivia. 

Curious to see how a virtual team building activity works? Check out this video on a Virtual Clue Murder Mystery in action. 

trivia is a great problem solving activity for colleagues

Step into the Outback Time Machine and take a trip through time, from pre-pandemic 21st century through the decades all the way to the 60’s. 

This exciting, fast-paced virtual trivia game, packed with nostalgia and good vibes, is guaranteed to produce big laughs, friendly competition, and maybe even some chair-dancing. 

Your virtual game show host will warm up guests with a couple of “table hopper rounds” (breakout room mixers) and split you out into teams. Within minutes, your home office will be transformed into a game show stage with your very own game show buzzers! 

And if your team loves trivia, check out our list of the most incredible virtual trivia games for work teams for even more ideas.

6.  Virtual Jeoparty Social

Virtual Jeoparty Social is a fun high energy virtual team building activity

If your remote team is eager to socialize, have some fun as a group, and channel their competitive spirit, we’ve got just the thing for you! With Virtual Jeoparty Social, you and your colleagues will step into your very own virtual Jeopardy-style game show—equipped with a buzzer button, a professional actor as your host, and an immersive game show platform! Best of all, this game has been infused with an ultra-social twist: players will take part in a unique social mixer challenge between each round. 

With the right team building problem solving activities, you can help your team sharpen their core skills to ensure they’re prepared when they inevitably face a challenge at work. And best of all, you can have fun in the process. 

Do you have any favorite team building activities for building problem-solving skills? If so, tell us about them in the comments section below! 

Learn More About Team Building Problem Solving Activities  

For more information about how your group can take part in a virtual team building, training, or coaching solution, reach out to our Employee Engagement Consultants.     

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Team Building Exercises – Problem Solving and Decision Making

Fun ways to turn problems into opportunities.

By the Mind Tools Content Team

problem solving in the workplace scenarios

Whether there's a complex project looming or your team members just want to get better at dealing with day-to-day issues, your people can achieve much more when they solve problems and make decisions together.

By developing their problem-solving skills, you can improve their ability to get to the bottom of complex situations. And by refining their decision-making skills, you can help them work together maturely, use different thinking styles, and commit collectively to decisions.

In this article, we'll look at three team-building exercises that you can use to improve problem solving and decision making in a new or established team.

Exercises to Build Decision-Making and Problem-Solving Skills

Use the following exercises to help your team members solve problems and make decisions together more effectively.

Exercise 1: Lost at Sea*

In this activity, participants must pretend that they've been shipwrecked and are stranded in a lifeboat. Each team has a box of matches, and a number of items that they've salvaged from the sinking ship. Members must agree which items are most important for their survival.

Download and print our team-building exercises worksheet to help you with this exercise.

This activity builds problem-solving skills as team members analyze information, negotiate and cooperate with one another. It also encourages them to listen and to think about the way they make decisions.

What You'll Need

  • Up to five people in each group.
  • A large, private room.
  • A "lost at sea" ranking chart for each team member. This should comprise six columns. The first simply lists each item (see below). The second is empty so that each team member can rank the items. The third is for group rankings. The fourth is for the "correct" rankings, which are revealed at the end of the exercise. And the fifth and sixth are for the team to enter the difference between their individual and correct score, and the team and correct rankings, respectively.
  • The items to be ranked are: a mosquito net, a can of petrol, a water container, a shaving mirror, a sextant, emergency rations, a sea chart, a floating seat or cushion, a rope, some chocolate bars, a waterproof sheet, a fishing rod, shark repellent, a bottle of rum, and a VHF radio. These can be listed in the ranking chart or displayed on a whiteboard, or both.
  • The experience can be made more fun by having some lost-at-sea props in the room.

Flexible, but normally between 25 and 40 minutes.

Instructions

  • Divide participants into their teams, and provide everyone with a ranking sheet.
  • Ask team members to take 10 minutes on their own to rank the items in order of importance. They should do this in the second column of their sheet.
  • Give the teams a further 10 minutes to confer and decide on their group rankings. Once agreed, they should list them in the third column of their sheets.
  • Ask each group to compare their individual rankings with their collective ones, and consider why any scores differ. Did anyone change their mind about their own rankings during the team discussions? How much were people influenced by the group conversation?
  • Now read out the "correct" order, collated by the experts at the US Coast Guard (from most to least important): - Shaving mirror. (One of your most powerful tools, because you can use it to signal your location by reflecting the sun.) - Can of petrol. (Again, potentially vital for signaling as petrol floats on water and can be lit by your matches.) - Water container. (Essential for collecting water to restore your lost fluids.) -Emergency rations. (Valuable for basic food intake.) - Plastic sheet. (Could be used for shelter, or to collect rainwater.) -Chocolate bars. (A handy food supply.) - Fishing rod. (Potentially useful, but there is no guarantee that you're able to catch fish. Could also feasibly double as a tent pole.) - Rope. (Handy for tying equipment together, but not necessarily vital for survival.) - Floating seat or cushion. (Useful as a life preserver.) - Shark repellent. (Potentially important when in the water.) - Bottle of rum. (Could be useful as an antiseptic for treating injuries, but will only dehydrate you if you drink it.) - Radio. (Chances are that you're out of range of any signal, anyway.) - Sea chart. (Worthless without navigational equipment.) - Mosquito net. (Assuming that you've been shipwrecked in the Atlantic, where there are no mosquitoes, this is pretty much useless.) - Sextant. (Impractical without relevant tables or a chronometer.)

Advice for the Facilitator

The ideal scenario is for teams to arrive at a consensus decision where everyone's opinion is heard. However, that doesn't always happen naturally: assertive people tend to get the most attention. Less forthright team members can often feel intimidated and don't always speak up, particularly when their ideas are different from the popular view. Where discussions are one-sided, draw quieter people in so that everyone is involved, but explain why you're doing this, so that people learn from it.

You can use the Stepladder Technique when team discussion is unbalanced. Here, ask each team member to think about the problem individually and, one at a time, introduce new ideas to an appointed group leader – without knowing what ideas have already been discussed. After the first two people present their ideas, they discuss them together. Then the leader adds a third person, who presents his or her ideas before hearing the previous input. This cycle of presentation and discussion continues until the whole team has had a chance to voice their opinions.

After everyone has finished the exercise, invite your teams to evaluate the process to draw out their experiences. For example, ask them what the main differences between individual, team and official rankings were, and why. This will provoke discussion about how teams arrive at decisions, which will make people think about the skills they must use in future team scenarios, such as listening , negotiating and decision-making skills, as well as creativity skills for thinking "outside the box."

A common issue that arises in team decision making is groupthink . This can happen when a group places a desire for mutual harmony above a desire to reach the right decision, which prevents people from fully exploring alternative solutions.

If there are frequent unanimous decisions in any of your exercises, groupthink may be an issue. Suggest that teams investigate new ways to encourage members to discuss their views, or to share them anonymously.

Exercise 2: The Great Egg Drop*

In this classic (though sometimes messy!) game, teams must work together to build a container to protect an egg, which is dropped from a height. Before the egg drop, groups must deliver presentations on their solutions, how they arrived at them, and why they believe they will succeed.

This fun game develops problem-solving and decision-making skills. Team members have to choose the best course of action through negotiation and creative thinking.

  • Ideally at least six people in each team.
  • Raw eggs – one for each group, plus some reserves in case of accidents!
  • Materials for creating the packaging, such as cardboard, tape, elastic bands, plastic bottles, plastic bags, straws, and scissors.
  • Aprons to protect clothes, paper towels for cleaning up, and paper table cloths, if necessary.
  • Somewhere – ideally outside – that you can drop the eggs from. (If there is nowhere appropriate, you could use a step ladder or equivalent.)
  • Around 15 to 30 minutes to create the packages.
  • Approximately 15 minutes to prepare a one-minute presentation.
  • Enough time for the presentations and feedback (this will depend on the number of teams).
  • Time to demonstrate the egg "flight."
  • Put people into teams, and ask each to build a package that can protect an egg dropped from a specified height (say, two-and-a-half meters) with the provided materials.
  • Each team must agree on a nominated speaker, or speakers, for their presentation.
  • Once all teams have presented, they must drop their eggs, assess whether the eggs have survived intact, and discuss what they have learned.

When teams are making their decisions, the more good options they consider, the more effective their final decision is likely to be. Encourage your groups to look at the situation from different angles, so that they make the best decision possible. If people are struggling, get them to brainstorm – this is probably the most popular method of generating ideas within a team.

Ask the teams to explore how they arrived at their decisions, to get them thinking about how to improve this process in the future. You can ask them questions such as:

  • Did the groups take a vote, or were members swayed by one dominant individual?
  • How did the teams decide to divide up responsibilities? Was it based on people's expertise or experience?
  • Did everyone do the job they volunteered for?
  • Was there a person who assumed the role of "leader"?
  • How did team members create and deliver the presentation, and was this an individual or group effort?

Exercise 3: Create Your Own*

In this exercise, teams must create their own, brand new, problem-solving activity.

This game encourages participants to think about the problem-solving process. It builds skills such as creativity, negotiation and decision making, as well as communication and time management. After the activity, teams should be better equipped to work together, and to think on their feet.

  • Ideally four or five people in each team.
  • Paper, pens and flip charts.

Around one hour.

  • As the participants arrive, you announce that, rather than spending an hour on a problem-solving team-building activity, they must design an original one of their own.
  • Divide participants into teams and tell them that they have to create a new problem-solving team-building activity that will work well in their organization. The activity must not be one that they have already participated in or heard of.
  • After an hour, each team must present their new activity to everyone else, and outline its key benefits.

There are four basic steps in problem solving : defining the problem, generating solutions, evaluating and selecting solutions, and implementing solutions. Help your team to think creatively at each stage by getting them to consider a wide range of options. If ideas run dry, introduce an alternative brainstorming technique, such as brainwriting . This allows your people to develop one others' ideas, while everyone has an equal chance to contribute.

After the presentations, encourage teams to discuss the different decision-making processes they followed. You might ask them how they communicated and managed their time . Another question could be about how they kept their discussion focused. And to round up, you might ask them whether they would have changed their approach after hearing the other teams' presentations.

Successful decision making and problem solving are at the heart of all effective teams. While teams are ultimately led by their managers, the most effective ones foster these skills at all levels.

The exercises in this article show how you can encourage teams to develop their creative thinking, leadership , and communication skills , while building group cooperation and consensus.

* Original source unknown. Please let us know if you know the original source.

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Five questions to help leaders discover the right analytics tool for the job.

AI moves quickly, but organizations change much more slowly. What works in a lab may be wrong for your company right now. If you know the right questions to ask, you can make better decisions, regardless of how fast technology changes. You can work with your technical experts to use the right tool for the right job. Then each solution today becomes a foundation to build further innovations tomorrow. But without the right questions, you’ll be starting your journey in the wrong place.

Leaders everywhere are rightly asking about how Generative AI can benefit their businesses. However, as impressive as generative AI is, it’s only one of many advanced data science and analytics techniques. While the world is focusing on generative AI, a better approach is to understand how to use the range of available analytics tools to address your company’s needs. Which analytics tool fits the problem you’re trying to solve? And how do you avoid choosing the wrong one? You don’t need to know deep details about each analytics tool at your disposal, but you do need to know enough to envision what’s possible and to ask technical experts the right questions.

  • George Westerman is a Senior Lecturer in MIT Sloan School of Management and founder of the Global Opportunity Forum  in MIT’s Office of Open Learning.
  • SR Sam Ransbotham is a Professor of Business Analytics at the Boston College Carroll School of Management. He co-hosts the “Me, Myself, and AI” podcast.
  • Chiara Farronato is the Glenn and Mary Jane Creamer Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and co-principal investigator at the Platform Lab at Harvard’s Digital Design Institute (D^3). She is also a fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR).

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The Performance Review Problem

As the arcane annual assessment earns a failing grade, employers struggle to create a better system to measure and motivate their workers.

​After an annual review that lasted about 10 minutes, a New Jersey-based account coordinator knew it was time to leave the public relations agency where he had worked for almost a year. 

The 25-year-old, who requested anonymity, asked for the meeting because his boss had not mentioned any formal assessment process, nor had his manager ever critiqued his work. The coordinator says he sat with a trio of senior executives who did not ask him any questions beyond how he would rate himself. He says they ignored his requests for guidance on how to advance at the agency. 

Screen Shot 2023-03-15 at 85749 AM.png

This example also illustrates one of the common failures in performance management: limiting reviews to once or twice a year without having any other meaningful career discussions in between. Nearly half (49 percent) of companies give annual or semiannual reviews, according to a study of 1,000 full-time U.S. employees released late last year by software company Workhuman. 

The only situation that is worse than doing one review per year is doing none at all, experts say. The good news is that only 7 percent of companies are keeping employees in the dark about their performance, and 28 percent of organizations are conducting assessments quarterly, the Workhuman study found.  

A Pervasive Problem

Reviews generally do not work.

That doesn’t mean that more-frequent formal meetings or casual sit-downs between supervisors and their direct reports are solving the performance review quandary, either. Only about 1 in 4 companies in North America (26 percent) said their performance management systems were effective, according to a survey of 837 companies conducted last fall by consulting firm WTW. And only one-third of the organizations said employees felt their efforts were evaluated fairly. 

Meanwhile, a Gallup survey conducted last year found that 95 percent of managers are dissatisfied with their organization’s review system.

The problem is not new, though it is taking on greater importance, experts say. Millennials and members of Generation Z crave feedback and are focused on career development. Meanwhile, the tight labor market has companies searching for ways to keep high-performing employees in the fold. Fewer than 20 percent of employees feel inspired by their reviews, and disengaged employees cost U.S. companies a collective $1.6 trillion a year, according to Gallup.

Lesli Jennings, a senior director at WTW, says part of the issue is that reviews are now so much more than a discussion of past performance. They include conversations about career development, employee experience and compensation. 

“The performance management design itself is not evolving as quickly as the objectives and the purpose that we have set out for what we want it to do,” Jennings says. 

Screen Shot 2023-03-15 at 84340 AM.png

Poor Review Practices

Some argue that means it’s time to completely scrap annual reviews and stop using scales composed of numbers or adjectives to rate employees. 

“Every single human alive today is a horribly unreliable rater of other human beings,” says Marcus Buckingham, head of people and performance research at the Roseland, N.J.-based ADP Research Institute. He says people bring their own backgrounds and personalities to bear in the reviews in what is called the “idiosyncratic rating effect.” He says the ratings managers bestow on others are more a reflection of themselves than of those they’re reviewing.

Buckingham adds that very few positions have quantifiable outcomes that can be considered a measure of competence, talent or success. It’s possible to tally a salesperson’s results or test someone’s knowledge of a computer program, he says, but he’s baffled by attempts to measure attributes such as “leadership potential.”

“I’m going to rate you on a theoretical construct like ‘strategic thinking’? Everybody knows that’s rubbish,” Buckingham says. He adds that performance reviews that offer rankings give “data that’s just bad” and insists that companies rely on data analytics because they don’t trust their managers’ judgment. But instead of working on improving their managers’ skills, he says, they put data systems in place. 

“Because we don’t educate our managers on how to have some of these conversations, we’ve decided that the solution is to give them really bad ratings systems or really bad categorization systems,” Buckingham says. 

R eviewing the Data

A mong North American employers:

  • More than 9 in 10 (93 percent) cited driving organizational performance as a key objective for performance management, yet less than half (44 percent) said their performance management program is ­meeting that objective.
  • Nearly 3 in 4 (72 percent) said ­supporting the career development of their employees is a primary objective, but only 31 percent said their performance management program was meeting that objective.
  • Less than half (49 percent) agreed that managers at their organization are ­effective at assessing the performance of their direct reports. 
  • Only 1 in 3 indicated that employees feel their performance is evaluated fairly. 
  • Just 1 in 6 (16 percent) reported having altered their performance management approach to align with remote and hybrid work models, which are rapidly becoming more prevalent.

Source: WTW 2022 Performance Reset Survey of 837 organizations worldwide, including 150 North American employers.

Data Lovers

Ratings aren’t likely to disappear anytime soon, however. “Data-driven” has become a rallying cry for companies as they seek to operate more efficiently. Organizations are trying to measure everything from sales to productivity, though such efforts can cause turmoil and hurt some individuals’ careers.

A June 2022 study of nearly 30,000 workers at an unnamed North American retail chain found that women were more likely to receive higher overall ratings than men, though women were ranked lower on “potential.” 

In that study, women were 12 percent more likely to be given the lowest rating for potential, as well as 15 percent and 28 percent less likely to receive the middle and highest potential ratings, respectively, according to the professors who conducted the study, Alan Benson of the University of Minnesota, Danielle Li of MIT and Kelly Shue of Yale. The authors also said women were 14 percent less likely to get promoted than men. “Because potential is not directly observed,” they noted, “these assessments can be highly subjective, leaving room for bias.” 

Screen Shot 2023-03-15 at 85749 AM.png

Birmingham left abruptly one afternoon and did not go in to work the next day, which he says Blizzard interpreted as his resignation. Blizzard did not respond to requests for comment.

Stack ranking became popular in the 1980s after it was embraced by General Electric. Its adoption has waned, though several tech companies continue to use it. Google and Twitter relied on stack ranking to decide who to let go in their recent rounds of layoffs, according to published reports.

Birmingham says that the system can cause anxiety and competition, which can kill team cohesion, and that arbitrary lower ratings adversely affect compensation and promotion potential. These systems can also suggest that a manager is ineffective, he says. “It implies that as managers, we basically have not done our job to hire them and train them appropriately or terminate them if they really aren’t working out.”

Birmingham says he is not opposed to ranking systems but doesn’t think they’re necessary. “I feel like the conversation about how to improve your career, what the expectations are for your job and what it will take to get to the next level are all things you can do without a rating,” he says.

Measurements Matter

Grant Pruitt, president and co-founder of Whitebox Real Estate, does not give any type of rating in his performance reviews, though he believes in using data to track his employees’ performance. “What isn’t measured can’t be managed,” says Pruitt, whose company has about 20 employees in several offices across Texas. 

At the beginning of the year, Whitebox employees set goals with their managers. Discussions are held about what benchmarks are reasonable, and these targets can be changed if there is a meaningful shift in business conditions. Team leaders hold weekly department meetings with their direct reports to discuss what’s happening and track progress. Managers hold quarterly private reviews with individuals to dig deeper into whether they’re meeting their goals and if not, why.

“Was it an achievable goal? Realistic? If it was, then what do we need to do to make sure we don’t miss it the next time?” Pruitt says. Whitebox switched to quarterly reviews about four years ago to address problems earlier and avoid having issues fester, Pruitt adds.

It’s easier to set goals for people in sales than for those in other departments, Pruitt concedes. However, he adds that executives need to brainstorm about targets they can use for other roles. For example, administrative employees can be rated on how quickly and efficiently they handle requests.

Pruitt maintains that the goal system makes it easier to respond when an employee disagrees with their manager about their performance review because there are quantitative measures to examine. The data also helps eliminate any unconscious bias a manager may have and helps ensure that a leader isn’t just giving an employee a good rating because they work out at the same gym or their children go to school together.

“I think that’s really where the numbers and the data are important,” Pruitt says. “The data doesn’t know whose kids play on the same sports team.”

Whitebox employees are also judged on how well they embrace the company’s core values, such as integrity, tenacity and coachability. Some of those values may require more-subjective judgments that can be more important than hitting quantifiable goals. 

Pruitt admits that there were occasions when he looked the other way with a few individuals who were “hitting it out of the park,” even though he believed they lacked integrity. But eventually, he had to let them go and the company lost money.

“They really came back to bite me,” Pruitt says.

Screen Shot 2023-03-15 at 84352 AM.png

Grades Are Good

Diane Dooley, CHRO of Iselin, N.J.-based World Insurance Associates LLC, also believes establishing quantitative methods to gauge employees’ performance is essential. “We are living in a world of data analytics,” she says. The broker’s roughly 2,000 employees are rated on a scale of 1 to 5.

World Insurance has taken numerous steps to remove bias from reviews. For example, last year the company conducted unconscious-bias training to help managers separate personal feelings from performance reviews. And all people managers convene to go over the reviews they’ve conducted. Dooley says that process gives everyone a chance to discuss why an employee was given a certain rank and to question some decisions. “We want to make sure we’re using the same standards,” she explains.

Currently, World Insurance conducts reviews only once a year because it has been on an acquisition binge and there hasn’t been time to institute a more frequent schedule. That will change eventually, says Dooley, who adds that she wants to introduce department grids that show how an employee’s rank compares to others’ on the team. 

“It’s just a tool that helps the department or the division understand where their people are and how we can help them collectively,” says Dooley, who has used the system at other companies. 

Dooley says she isn’t worried about World Insurance holding reviews only annually, because good managers regularly check in with their employees regardless of how frequently reviews are mandated.

Such conversations can easily fall through the cracks, however. “Managers want to manage the employees, but they get so caught up in the company’s KPIs [key performance indicators] and making sure that they’re doing everything that they need to do,” says Jennifer Currence, SHRM-SCP, CEO of WithIn Leadership, a leadership development and coaching firm in Tampa, Fla. “It’s hard to set aside the time.” 

WTW’s Jennings adds that managers sometimes avoid initiating conversations with employees who are not performing well. Such discussions are often difficult, and managers may not feel equipped to conduct them. 

“Having to address underperformers is hard work,” Jennings says. 

Additionally, experts say, coaching managers to engage in such sensitive discourse can be expensive and time-consuming.

Improve Your Performance Reviews

H ere’s how to make the review process more ­palatable for both managers and their direct reports:

  • Don’t limit conversations to once or twice per year. Every team is different, so leaders should decide what schedule is most appropriate for their departments. However, it’s important to deal with any problems as they arise; don’t let them fester.
  • Set performance goals and expectations at the beginning of the year so employees understand their responsibilities. This helps lend objectivity to the process by introducing measurable targets. However, the goals should be adjusted if there are major changes to the business or an employee’s circumstances. 
  • Explain how each employee’s position, as well as each department, fits into the company’s overall ­strategy. This will help employees understand why their job matters and why it’s important.
  • Simplify the process. There’s no need for a ­double-digit number of steps or numerous
  • questions that require long-winded answers. 
  • Consider a 360-degree approach. Input from employees’ colleagues or from other managers can help give a fuller picture of employees’ capabilities and contributions.
  • Eliminate proximity bias. You may not see some employees as often as others, especially if they work remotely, but that doesn’t mean they’re not working hard. 
  • End recency bias, which is basing a review on an employee’s most recent performance while ignoring earlier efforts. Don’t let recent mistakes overshadow the employee’s other impressive accomplishments.
  • Solicit feedback from employees. Reviews should be a two-way conversation, not a lecture.
  • Train managers to give advice calmly and helpfully. This is especially important when leaders must call out an employee’s subpar performance. 
  • Don’t discuss compensation during reviews. Employees are likely to be so focused on learning about a raise or bonus that they won’t pay much attention to anything else.

Increase Conversations

Finding the right formula for performance reviews is tricky. The company’s size, values, industry and age all play a role. Currence says businesses need to think about the frequency and purpose of these meetings. Some managers may have weekly discussions with their direct reports, but the conversations might center on status updates as opposed to performance. 

“We need to have more regular conversations,” Currence says. “There has to be a happy balance.”

San Jose, Calif.-based software maker Adobe Inc. was a pioneer when it eliminated annual reviews in 2012 after employees said assessments that look backward weren’t useful and managers lamented how time-consuming they were. Instead, Adobe introduced quarterly check-ins and did away with its numerical ratings system, even though the company is “data-driven,” according to Arden Madsen, senior director of talent management.

Screen Shot 2023-03-15 at 85749 AM.png

Adobe’s system has changed over the years as the company grew from about 11,000 employees in 2012 to around 28,000 today. In the beginning, employees were not asked a universal set of questions and the information gathered was not stored in a central place accessible to all. In 2020, Adobe instituted three or four questions that must be asked at each quarterly meeting, one of which is whether the employee has feedback for the manager. Other topics covered depend on the employee, their role and their goals.

Madsen says asking consistent questions and making reviews easily accessible are important, as internal mobility within the company has grown. 

Adobe, like many businesses, separates conversations about performance from discussions about raises and bonuses, even though they’re intertwined. 

“Money is so emotionally charged,” says WithIn Leadership’s Currence. “When we tie performance review conversations with money, we as human beings do not hear anything about performance. We only focus on the money.”    

Theresa Agovino is the workplace editor for SHRM.

Illustrations by Neil Jamieson.

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Our next-generation model: Gemini 1.5

Feb 15, 2024

The model delivers dramatically enhanced performance, with a breakthrough in long-context understanding across modalities.

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A note from Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai:

Last week, we rolled out our most capable model, Gemini 1.0 Ultra, and took a significant step forward in making Google products more helpful, starting with Gemini Advanced . Today, developers and Cloud customers can begin building with 1.0 Ultra too — with our Gemini API in AI Studio and in Vertex AI .

Our teams continue pushing the frontiers of our latest models with safety at the core. They are making rapid progress. In fact, we’re ready to introduce the next generation: Gemini 1.5. It shows dramatic improvements across a number of dimensions and 1.5 Pro achieves comparable quality to 1.0 Ultra, while using less compute.

This new generation also delivers a breakthrough in long-context understanding. We’ve been able to significantly increase the amount of information our models can process — running up to 1 million tokens consistently, achieving the longest context window of any large-scale foundation model yet.

Longer context windows show us the promise of what is possible. They will enable entirely new capabilities and help developers build much more useful models and applications. We’re excited to offer a limited preview of this experimental feature to developers and enterprise customers. Demis shares more on capabilities, safety and availability below.

Introducing Gemini 1.5

By Demis Hassabis, CEO of Google DeepMind, on behalf of the Gemini team

This is an exciting time for AI. New advances in the field have the potential to make AI more helpful for billions of people over the coming years. Since introducing Gemini 1.0 , we’ve been testing, refining and enhancing its capabilities.

Today, we’re announcing our next-generation model: Gemini 1.5.

Gemini 1.5 delivers dramatically enhanced performance. It represents a step change in our approach, building upon research and engineering innovations across nearly every part of our foundation model development and infrastructure. This includes making Gemini 1.5 more efficient to train and serve, with a new Mixture-of-Experts (MoE) architecture.

The first Gemini 1.5 model we’re releasing for early testing is Gemini 1.5 Pro. It’s a mid-size multimodal model, optimized for scaling across a wide-range of tasks, and performs at a similar level to 1.0 Ultra , our largest model to date. It also introduces a breakthrough experimental feature in long-context understanding.

Gemini 1.5 Pro comes with a standard 128,000 token context window. But starting today, a limited group of developers and enterprise customers can try it with a context window of up to 1 million tokens via AI Studio and Vertex AI in private preview.

As we roll out the full 1 million token context window, we’re actively working on optimizations to improve latency, reduce computational requirements and enhance the user experience. We’re excited for people to try this breakthrough capability, and we share more details on future availability below.

These continued advances in our next-generation models will open up new possibilities for people, developers and enterprises to create, discover and build using AI.

Context lengths of leading foundation models

Highly efficient architecture

Gemini 1.5 is built upon our leading research on Transformer and MoE architecture. While a traditional Transformer functions as one large neural network, MoE models are divided into smaller "expert” neural networks.

Depending on the type of input given, MoE models learn to selectively activate only the most relevant expert pathways in its neural network. This specialization massively enhances the model’s efficiency. Google has been an early adopter and pioneer of the MoE technique for deep learning through research such as Sparsely-Gated MoE , GShard-Transformer , Switch-Transformer, M4 and more.

Our latest innovations in model architecture allow Gemini 1.5 to learn complex tasks more quickly and maintain quality, while being more efficient to train and serve. These efficiencies are helping our teams iterate, train and deliver more advanced versions of Gemini faster than ever before, and we’re working on further optimizations.

Greater context, more helpful capabilities

An AI model’s “context window” is made up of tokens, which are the building blocks used for processing information. Tokens can be entire parts or subsections of words, images, videos, audio or code. The bigger a model’s context window, the more information it can take in and process in a given prompt — making its output more consistent, relevant and useful.

Through a series of machine learning innovations, we’ve increased 1.5 Pro’s context window capacity far beyond the original 32,000 tokens for Gemini 1.0. We can now run up to 1 million tokens in production.

This means 1.5 Pro can process vast amounts of information in one go — including 1 hour of video, 11 hours of audio, codebases with over 30,000 lines of code or over 700,000 words. In our research, we’ve also successfully tested up to 10 million tokens.

Complex reasoning about vast amounts of information

1.5 Pro can seamlessly analyze, classify and summarize large amounts of content within a given prompt. For example, when given the 402-page transcripts from Apollo 11’s mission to the moon, it can reason about conversations, events and details found across the document.

Reasoning across a 402-page transcript: Gemini 1.5 Pro Demo

Gemini 1.5 Pro can understand, reason about and identify curious details in the 402-page transcripts from Apollo 11’s mission to the moon.

Better understanding and reasoning across modalities

1.5 Pro can perform highly-sophisticated understanding and reasoning tasks for different modalities, including video. For instance, when given a 44-minute silent Buster Keaton movie , the model can accurately analyze various plot points and events, and even reason about small details in the movie that could easily be missed.

Multimodal prompting with a 44-minute movie: Gemini 1.5 Pro Demo

Gemini 1.5 Pro can identify a scene in a 44-minute silent Buster Keaton movie when given a simple line drawing as reference material for a real-life object.

Relevant problem-solving with longer blocks of code

1.5 Pro can perform more relevant problem-solving tasks across longer blocks of code. When given a prompt with more than 100,000 lines of code, it can better reason across examples, suggest helpful modifications and give explanations about how different parts of the code works.

Problem solving across 100,633 lines of code | Gemini 1.5 Pro Demo

Gemini 1.5 Pro can reason across 100,000 lines of code giving helpful solutions, modifications and explanations.

Enhanced performance

When tested on a comprehensive panel of text, code, image, audio and video evaluations, 1.5 Pro outperforms 1.0 Pro on 87% of the benchmarks used for developing our large language models (LLMs). And when compared to 1.0 Ultra on the same benchmarks, it performs at a broadly similar level.

Gemini 1.5 Pro maintains high levels of performance even as its context window increases. In the Needle In A Haystack (NIAH) evaluation, where a small piece of text containing a particular fact or statement is purposely placed within a long block of text, 1.5 Pro found the embedded text 99% of the time, in blocks of data as long as 1 million tokens.

Gemini 1.5 Pro also shows impressive “in-context learning” skills, meaning that it can learn a new skill from information given in a long prompt, without needing additional fine-tuning. We tested this skill on the Machine Translation from One Book (MTOB) benchmark, which shows how well the model learns from information it’s never seen before. When given a grammar manual for Kalamang , a language with fewer than 200 speakers worldwide, the model learns to translate English to Kalamang at a similar level to a person learning from the same content.

As 1.5 Pro’s long context window is the first of its kind among large-scale models, we’re continuously developing new evaluations and benchmarks for testing its novel capabilities.

For more details, see our Gemini 1.5 Pro technical report .

Extensive ethics and safety testing

In line with our AI Principles and robust safety policies, we’re ensuring our models undergo extensive ethics and safety tests. We then integrate these research learnings into our governance processes and model development and evaluations to continuously improve our AI systems.

Since introducing 1.0 Ultra in December, our teams have continued refining the model, making it safer for a wider release. We’ve also conducted novel research on safety risks and developed red-teaming techniques to test for a range of potential harms.

In advance of releasing 1.5 Pro, we've taken the same approach to responsible deployment as we did for our Gemini 1.0 models, conducting extensive evaluations across areas including content safety and representational harms, and will continue to expand this testing. Beyond this, we’re developing further tests that account for the novel long-context capabilities of 1.5 Pro.

Build and experiment with Gemini models

We’re committed to bringing each new generation of Gemini models to billions of people, developers and enterprises around the world responsibly.

Starting today, we’re offering a limited preview of 1.5 Pro to developers and enterprise customers via AI Studio and Vertex AI . Read more about this on our Google for Developers blog and Google Cloud blog .

We’ll introduce 1.5 Pro with a standard 128,000 token context window when the model is ready for a wider release. Coming soon, we plan to introduce pricing tiers that start at the standard 128,000 context window and scale up to 1 million tokens, as we improve the model.

Early testers can try the 1 million token context window at no cost during the testing period, though they should expect longer latency times with this experimental feature. Significant improvements in speed are also on the horizon.

Developers interested in testing 1.5 Pro can sign up now in AI Studio, while enterprise customers can reach out to their Vertex AI account team.

Learn more about Gemini’s capabilities and see how it works .

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IMAGES

  1. What is the Problem? Workplace Scenarios by SPED And Tacos

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  2. 7 Examples of Problem-Solving Scenarios in the Workplace (With Solutions)

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  3. What is the Problem? Workplace Scenarios by SPED And Tacos

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  4. Top 15 Problem-Solving Activities for Your Team to Master

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  5. Examples of Problem-Solving Scenarios in The Workplace

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  6. 25+ Good Examples of Problem Solving in the Workplace

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  1. Customer Support Specialist :Problem-Solving Techniques: Mastering Strategies 9

  2. Poor problem Resolution Skills🙃

  3. Workplace Restorative Practices

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  5. Mastering the Art of Risk Mitigation: Strategies for Success

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  1. 7 Examples of Problem-Solving Scenarios in the Workplace (With ...

    Problem-solving Scenario #1: Tight Deadlines and Heavy Workload. Problem-solving Scenario #2: Handling a Product Launch. Problem-solving Scenario #3: Internal Conflicts in the Team. Problem-solving Scenario #4: Team not Meeting Targets. Problem-solving Scenario #5: Team Facing High Turnover.

  2. Examples of Problem-Solving Scenarios in The Workplace

    Employee performance issues It's not unusual for team members to face performance-related challenges occasionally. Employee performance issues can affect team productivity and morale, whether it's due to a lack of skills, motivation, or other factors.

  3. 26 Good Examples of Problem Solving (Interview Answers)

    Troubleshooting and resolving technical issues Handling and resolving a conflict with a coworker Solving any problems related to money, customer billing, accounting and bookkeeping, etc. Taking initiative when another team member overlooked or missed something important

  4. 25+ Good Examples of Problem Solving in the Workplace

    25+ Good Examples of Problem Solving in the Workplace By The Editors Updated on March 30, 2023 Problem-solving is a necessary skill for success in any workplace situation, but it's especially important when you're working with other people. However, this skill seems to be a lost art nowadays.

  5. 15 Problem-Solving Games and Activities for the Workplace

    15 Problem-Solving Games and Activities for the Workplace Indeed Editorial Team Updated September 28, 2023 Problem-solving is a transferable skill professionals can use in any career. Many companies encourage teams to take part in problem-solving games to enhance this skill in the workplace.

  6. Problem Solving Strategies for the Workplace [2023] • Asana

    1. Identify the problem that needs to be solved One of the easiest ways to identify a problem is to ask questions. A good place to start is to ask journalistic questions, like: Who: Who is involved with this problem? Who caused the problem? Who is most affected by this issue? What: What is happening? What is the extent of the issue?

  7. PDF Problem Solving Scenarios

    Spigarelli 2008] Manuel has a very important job interview at City College today. The campus is very large and but cannot find the employment office. He asks different people for directions but he is lost. It's five minutes before the job interview appointment. What is your advice for Manuel? [J. Adelsonm-Goldstein, 2008] A Long Lunch

  8. 7 Seriously Effective Problem Solving Activities For Your Team

    Decision-making is essential to problem-solving because if the right decision is taken at the right time, then it could lead to resolving the problem, which eventually benefits the entire team and the organization. 5. Egg Drop. Helps With: Decision Making & Collaboration.

  9. How to Solve Problems

    How to Solve Problems. To bring the best ideas forward, teams must build psychological safety. Teams today aren't just asked to execute tasks: They're called upon to solve problems. You'd ...

  10. How To Put Problem-Solving Skills To Work in 6 Steps

    1. Define the problem The first step is to analyze the situation carefully to learn more about the problem. A single situation may solve multiple problems. Identify each problem and determine its cause. Try to anticipate the behavior and response of those affected by the problem.

  11. Seven Steps for Effective Problem Solving in the Workplace

    1. Identify the issues. Be clear about what the problem is. Remember that different people might have different views of what the issues are. Separate the listing of issues from the identification of interests (that's the next step!). 2. Understand everyone's interests. This is a critical step that is usually missing.

  12. Top 15 Problem-Solving Activities for Your Team to Master

    Article content. The importance of problem-solving skills in today's workplace. Classic team-building, problem-solving activities. 1. A Shrinking Vessel. 2. Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower. Creative problem-solving activities. Quick and easy problem-solving activities.

  13. What Are Problem-Solving Skills? Definition and Examples

    Problem-solving skills are the ability to identify problems, brainstorm and analyze answers, and implement the best solutions. An employee with good problem-solving skills is both a self-starter and a collaborative teammate; they are proactive in understanding the root of a problem and work with others to consider a wide range of solutions ...

  14. What Are Problem-Solving Skills? Definitions and Examples

    Definitions and Examples. Jennifer Herrity. Updated July 31, 2023. When employers talk about problem-solving skills, they are often referring to the ability to handle difficult or unexpected situations in the workplace as well as complex business challenges. Organizations rely on people who can assess both kinds of situations and calmly ...

  15. How to Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills

    Problem-solving skills examples. Problem-solving requires multiple skills to get to a solution. These skills are all vital professional skills that employers desire in the immediate and future workplace.. 1. Decision-making. You'll need to develop your decision-making skills if you want to excel at problem-solving. No problem can be solved without making important decisions, including what ...

  16. Problem Solving in the Workplace and Problem Solving in the Workplace

    1. Take a step back and collect yourself. How much time you have for this may depend greatly on the scenario, but make sure you're thinking about the problem in a calm and a collected manner before you fire off a defensive email or say something you may regret. Take a quick walk, pause what you're doing for a few minutes, or take some deep breaths.

  17. Top 10 Problem Solving Group Activities for Your Team

    1. Human knots. This is a simple activity you can do with any team. It teaches communication and clear thinking in the face of a complex, frustrating problem. There will likely be a number of solutions proposed by different members of the team, and each will need to be evaluated and implemented by the whole group.

  18. 17 Unbeatable Team Building Problem Solving Activities

    1. Cardboard Boat Building Challenge 2. Egg Drop 3. Clue Murder Mystery 4. Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower 5. Corporate Escape Room 6. Wild Goose Chase 7. Lost at Sea 8. Domino Effect Challenge 9. Reverse Pyramid 10. CI: The Crime Investigators 11. Team Pursuit

  19. Team Building Exercises

    Exercise 1: Lost at Sea* In this activity, participants must pretend that they've been shipwrecked and are stranded in a lifeboat. Each team has a box of matches, and a number of items that they've salvaged from the sinking ship. Members must agree which items are most important for their survival. Tip:

  20. 7 Examples of Problem-Solving Scenarios in the Workplace (With

    Problem-solving Scenario #1: Tight Deadlines both Heavy Workload How can Kid overcome this issue? Here's what he does: Talk to of team members: John first by asking what's holding diehards back. Basis on own responses, he realized that his needs to delegate better.

  21. 7 Tricky Work Situations, and How to Respond to Them

    You know the moment: a mood-veering, thought-steering, pressure-packed interaction with a colleague, boss, or client when the right thing to say is stuck in a verbal traffic jam between your brain...

  22. Problem Solving In Modern eLearning Environments

    Problem-solving activities in eLearning give people a strong asset: critical thinking skills. Learners have the opportunity to acquire an analytical way of thinking and approach problems differently. When presented with multiple scenarios and choices, even under complex circumstances, they train their minds to consider every available piece of ...

  23. Find the AI Approach That Fits the Problem You're Trying to Solve

    Summary. AI moves quickly, but organizations change much more slowly. What works in a lab may be wrong for your company right now. If you know the right questions to ask, you can make better ...

  24. The Performance Review Problem

    A Pervasive Problem Reviews generally do not work. That doesn't mean that more-frequent formal meetings or casual sit-downs between supervisors and their direct reports are solving the ...

  25. A Psychologist Offers 3 Ways Out Of A 'Midnight Meltdown'

    3. Use Distraction And Problem-Solving To Avoid Rumination. When negative thoughts threaten to consume you, distract yourself and redirect your focus to engaging activities or tasks. This can be ...

  26. 9 Fun Team Problem-Solving Activities

    9 Fun Team Problem-Solving Activities. Problem-solving is the ability to apply critical thinking skills to come up with a solution to a problem. Problems occur daily in the workplace and often, teams need to come up with solutions. The primary goal of problem-solving exercises is to learn how to work together. In this article, we share benefits ...

  27. Introducing Gemini 1.5, Google's next-generation AI model

    Relevant problem-solving with longer blocks of code. 1.5 Pro can perform more relevant problem-solving tasks across longer blocks of code. When given a prompt with more than 100,000 lines of code, it can better reason across examples, suggest helpful modifications and give explanations about how different parts of the code works.