However well prepared we are for problem solving, there is always an element of the unknown.
Although planning and structuring will help make the problem solving process more likely to be successful, good judgement and an element of good luck will ultimately determine whether problem solving was a success.
Following on from problem identification, structuring the problem is all about gaining more information about the problem and increasing understanding.
This phase is all about fact finding and analysis, building a more comprehensive picture of both the goal(s) and the barrier(s).
Trying to solve a complex problem alone however can be a mistake.
The old adage " Effective problem solving usually involves working through a number of steps or stages, such as those outlined below.Dealing with a customer complaint may be seen as a problem that needs to be solved, and it's almost certainly a good idea to do so.The employee dealing with the complaint should be asking what has caused the customer to complain in the first place, if the cause of the complaint can be eliminated then the problem is solved.Following our examples above, if you feel hungry then your goal is to eat.A barrier to this may be that you have no food available - so you take a trip to the supermarket and buy some food, removing the barrier and thus solving the problem.Of course for the CEO wanting to increase profits there may be many more barriers preventing the goal from being reached.The CEO needs to attempt to recognise these barriers and remove them or find other ways to achieve the goals of the organisation.Problem solving skills are highly sought after by employers as many companies rely on their employees to identify and solve problems.A lot of the work in problem solving involves understanding what the underlying issues of the problem really are - not the symptoms.From the information gathered in the first two phases of the problem solving framework it is now time to start thinking about possible solutions to the identified problem.In a group situation this stage is often carried out as a brain-storming session, letting each person in the group express their views on possible solutions (or part solutions).