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15 Tips To Become A Proactive Business Problem-Solver

While every business has problems, the solutions that you use to solve these issues is what really matters. As a working professional, it can be easy to react rather than prepare for the challenges your business faces. Having a plan in place that proactively takes the reins and addresses these problems can make a difference in how well equipped you are to handle and manage these situations without any interruption in your business’ operations.

 

Below, 15 members of Forbes Coaches Council share the best tips for planning ahead so that you are proactive rather than reactive when it comes to solving problems at work. Here’s what they recommend:

 

1. Reflect With Others

I engage others on a regular basis to discuss what we should continue doing, stop doing or start doing. Being proactive requires an understanding of reality by managing perceptions. This means getting feedback and actively seeking solutions, no matter how small. Set up regular reflections with individuals or teams. - Alan Trivedi, MBA PCC, Trivedi Coaching & Consulting Group

 

2. Research And Anticipate

Take time to research projects fully -- not only in regards to execution but also how they fit into broader strategic goals. This will give you additional insight that will allow you to anticipate potential needs and opportunities that may not be immediately evident and get out in front of them. - Tonya Echols, Thrive Coaching Solutions

 

3. Use The Buffer Technique

An admin used to schedule back-to-back meetings, sometimes including those with a drive to get there. Even if I kept up, I was always rushed. Now all meetings and focused activities have "buffer time" --15 or 30 minutes, unscheduled, in between meetings. This allows for meetings that go over, time to get a snack or time to drive and arrive relaxed and early. Put the buffer between meetings. - John Hittler, Evoking Genius

 

4. Seek Feedback From Co-workers

Get to know the people on your team and ask them about what they find difficult or challenging in their jobs. See if you can get them to pinpoint an area where they need support on a particular project, with a client or on an assignment. Once you understand their pain points, offer your support and follow through with helping them tackle their challenges. - Beth Kuhel, Get Hired, LLC

 

5. Train Unemotionally

Most problems aren't new. You have seen this movie. When you are in the problem, the crisis, you react emotionally. You are living it. As an EMT, you know how to stem the flow of blood safely. You were trained by the book. Similarly, in your business and life, you can train and create ways you will handle a problem client on any issue or a product setback. Write that SOP now before the emergency. - John M. O'Connor, Career Pro Inc.

 

6. Have Systems And Processes

Staying organized with systems and processes allows you to anticipate issues or be ready to handle any issues that arise unexpectedly. With systems in place, you can notice when a project isn't aligning and more quickly catch a potential issue. With processes to follow, people can know when a modified step provides better results for a finished project. - Rosie Guagliardo, InnerBrilliance Coaching

 

7. Use The Decision Tree Method

A sure way to anticipate and be prepared for potential issues is to understand and utilize the"decision tree" methodology. Think of it as playing out different outcomes based on different decisions. If you apply it consistently to all major decisions, you will very likely be able to be proactive when potential issues arise. - Kamyar Shah, World Consulting Group

 

8. Separate People From The Problem

Focusing on the problem rather than the personalities behind it helps us find win-win solutions without devolving into personal attacks. Focusing on sharing information and building relationships prepares us for the inevitable challenges that come up at work. This will always be a more constructive approach to solving problems and leveraging power than wielding it like a club. - Tracey Grove, Pure Symmetry Coaching and Consulting

 

9. Ask The Right Questions

Great leaders ask great questions. Many leaders cannot plan ahead because they cannot think about the questions that they should be asking themselves or their teams. Every month, pause to ask yourself the right questions that will lead you to working on the right things for the future and not just for the urgent. -Ken Gosnell, CEO Experience

 

10. Develop A 100-Day Plan

Planning ahead requires you understand what types of challenges your team is facing. Spend time on the floor observing, listening and talking to your team. Then, use a 100-day calendar, with 10-day increments, and map out what is due and what might come up. Make this visible so everyone can be prepared. This helps your team learn to review, revise and think ahead. - Cynthia Howard RN, CNC, PhD., EI Leadership

 

11. Stay Organized

Staying organized is key to being proactive and keeping things under control. Being organized is a delicate balance between managing your time and not being a slave to it. Develop an organizational system that works for you and fits your personal style. Then use it. Create "footballs" for projects and team engagements so you can dedicate time to proactive discussions and critical thinking. - Tony Mickle, Big Box Coaching

 

12. Remember 'Busy' Is A State Of Mind

I do everything in batches by task instead of being victim to my to-do list or inbox. If I am writing or focusing on a strategic piece, I log out of email and turn off Wi-Fi and put my phone on "do not disturb." I commit to spending 50% of my time on working in the business and 50% of my time working on the business (strategy). I remind myself that being overly "busy" isn't a sign of achievement or success. - Courtney Feider, Courtney Feider, LLC

 

13. Focus On The Important, Not Just The Urgent

It's easy to get caught up in the firefighting, but to be proactive, you need to find some time for fire prevention. Review everything that you work on; not everything that is urgent is important. Learn to delegate the non-important work or even eliminate it, if possible. This will help take you out of reactive m

 

ode and give you the opportunity to focus on just the important and be proactive. -Gordon Tredgold, Leadership Principles LLC

 

14. Use Walt Disney's Planning Strategy

I love to use Walt Disney's strategy to planning. He would have three chairs in his office that represented a different perspective to view any idea. In the Dreamer chair, he would allow himself to create visions without constraints. In the Realist chair, he would consider the resources available to him. And, finally, in the Spoiler chair, he would consider all the pitfalls and plan accordingly. -Carolina Caro, Carolina Caro

 

15. Be Deliberate

To be proactive, you must own the situation. Detail how time is utilized and include time for strategic thinking where you look to the future and learn from the past. Make notes about where you want the organization to go, how to lead, and learn from others by reading their journeys. This simple, deliberate act drives continuous improvement to prepare you for the situations to come. -Chris Stricklin, Afterburner

 

Originally posted on Forbes Coaches Council. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/12/14/15-tips-to-become-a-proactive-business-problem-solver

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