Apr 24, 2023 Vas Nair

Problem Solving Takes More Than Guesswork

‘Engage the right people to help you solve a problem’. It’s not rocket science, however, it’s alarming to see how unprepared people are when they set out to solve an issue. This may be due to not knowing where to start; the conflict or problem has grown to be a bigger one; or a  busy schedule resulting in shortcuts. 

Delaying the inevitable only means having to tackle it at some point when the issue is probably out of hand – causing additional stress to yourself and others. The key is to be prepared.

Remember, this doesn’t have to be a one-person job. A better approach is to bring together the right people (the relevant stakeholders). Make this your immediate task before jumping to solve it. Keep this to a ‘must have’ list of stakeholders; as it helps move discussions and actions along faster. Also, if the matter is a confidential or sensitive one, you need to be strict about who gets involved.

Use the following simple steps to help you problem solve:


 Identify the issue and define what it is. When did it occur? Who was involved? Were there other occurrences? How serious or confidential is it? Obtain the facts, as you don’t want to be tackling the wrong issue! This means getting the necessary information and not relying on hearsay or rumors. Compiling the information helps you better plan to solve the problem. It also gets you ready for your conversations with the main parties involved.


Have fact-based, honest conversations. Explore and get input from others, which will likely result in suggestions and ideas you may not have considered. Go to these discussions with an open mindset, even if you feel strongly that you have the solution. The way you approach the conversation and ask questions can be the difference between getting thoughtful input versus people shying away from being helpful or honest. This will help you determine how to move forward.


Implement the agreed actions, while holding people accountable. This is important because you want the right skills and expertise to step in as needed. Ongoing follow-up is required to gauge if the issue is being resolved. Communicate, get feedback and evaluate the scenario by involving the key stakeholders. Discuss any changes that need to be made, or if additional support is required. You may need to pause and re-evaluate the scenario, which is fine. Remember, it’s best to be thoughtful versus rushing to a solution that won’t solve the problem.

We all know that encountering problems and conflict are part of running a business, leading teams or simply  working with others to achieve goals. It’s quite human to ignore some situations, hoping they will eventually be resolved. In most cases, this isn’t going to happen. Being patient, communicating effectively and taking a well-planned path can help minimize unnecessary disruption to work. It doesn’t need to be cumbersome; it just needs to be done in a thoughtful and respectful way.

Giraffe HR App - Creators Vas Nair and Sobha Nair

Hi there!

We’re Vas and Sobha Nair, two sisters that have lived and breathed all aspects of human resources for over 50 years between us. Giraffe was born from our global experience coaching leaders and business owners navigate the same tricky workplace issues and discussions that you face. We know the best practices and proven processes that help turn workplace conflict on its head – and we want to share all of this and more with you in Giraffe.

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