Problem Solving

Often, when student organizations are faced with problems, they are not sure which steps to take to deal with them.  The best way to solve problems is to use the goals and objectives set by the members.  While reviewing your organization’s goals, consider the following steps:

  • Identify the problem accurately; don't look at the symptoms of a problem as the problem.
  • Determine the present level of performance or accomplishment.  Don't try to identify the causes of the problem, and don't try to come up with solutions.  The question right now is:  What is the present level of performance or achievement?
  • Determine the level of performance or accomplishment that is desired by your organization.  According to your goals, what would you like to be doing?
  • Isolate the difference by comparing the present level of performance and the desired level of performance.  Now you must decide if the problem is serious enough to pursue any further.
  • Brainstorm possible causes of the problem.  To solve the problem, you must eliminate or minimize the causes.
  • Select the most crucial causes of the problem.  The members of the organization should agree on the crucial causes.
  • Develop alternate solutions by asking what can be done to eliminate each cause.
  • Evaluate the proposed solutions to find out which solutions contribute the most to the organization’s goals, have the most reasonable cost and are the most feasible.  One or two solutions should be chosen from this evaluation.
  • Develop a time and action plan as a commitment to implement the solutions.  Set target dates for initiating the solutions, completing the solutions or courses of action and evaluating their effectiveness.