The Sufi philosopher Azhar Khan once said “Life is a continuous succession of problems, like waves from the ocean. They never stop.” If that is true, solving problems is a critical leadership competency.

Like an accident where someone is hurt you focus on caring for the injured person, stopping the bleeding, and minimizing damage before you start analyzing what and how it happened.

Over the years I have learned when faced with a problem or crisis to discipline myself by intentionally staying calm, and thinking in terms of “what can be done now,” rather than how it occurred and who is to blame. There will be time to reflect on the what and how and learn from that.

Below are some steps that may be useful for you in your problem-solving:

Define the problem?

Probe, get clarity and be certain the problem is the real problem.
What are the possible solutions?

Most problems have more than one solution, keep digging, keep inquiring.
What is the best solution at this time?

Not all problems are created equal, some are more complex. If you must put off solving now, set a deadline. In most instances, 75% of all problems should be dealt with immediately
Make a decision.

Once a solution is selected, decide on a course of action, and answer the question, “what are going to do now?”
Assign responsibility.

Who on the team is going to “own” the solution?
Good luck on your problem-solving journey.