To make it in human resources, one needs to quickly learn how to be an adept tactical problem solver. Nobody in the office can clean up a mess, work themselves out of a jam or be quite so clever as HR can. And if you were to ask many HR professionals what their strengths are, “problem-solving” would likely be near the top of their lists.
Albert Einstein, once said: “If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.” Yet, HR can tend to get complacent in relying on the trusted solutions they are familiar with, even as the problems they are solving continue to evolve, fester and grow. HR execs sometimes restrain themselves by relying on old methods while understanding less and less about the root causes of today’s fast-moving people challenges.
A Simple Formula To Solving Problems
A simple formula to solving these challenges is “start with What + Why, then figure out the How.” The role of senior executives and management is to define the “What” (objectives, goals) and “Why” (context, mission) and then —ideally—delegate or empower the “How” to teams that are closer to the actual work and who, as a result, know more about the problem at hand.
Take A Walk Through Your Proverbial Factory Floor
The “How” can be more difficult for senior execs that don’t have the best information about the problems resided as they don’t have day-to-day interactions with the people facing those problems each day.
Our suggestion is to take a walk! Take a walk through your factory, office or workplace and absorb. The more context you have, the more in touch you might be with today’s employee experience and unmet needs. Gather more current and contextual information, then hunker down and force yourselves to come up with many potential solutions.
After all, context is the secret sauce to solving any problem, and oddly, it’s often one of the key elements executives in today’s world lack.