CAREER ADVANCEMENT / APR. 25, 2014
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How To Develop Problem-Solving Skills By Asking The Right Questions

questions

Questions can be used to formulate solutions when solving difficult problems.

They can help point you in the right direction, especially if you’re having a hard time addressing what you want for your business. Essentially, questions are used to bring deep problems to the surface, allowing you and your team to take the necessary steps in finding a feasible solution.

Approaching a problem by asking questions

In order to fully understand a problem, one should try asking questions to ensure all aspects of the concern are properly addressed. When business problems arise during testing (which always happens whether big or small), taking a step back and asking the right questions can prevent further losses.

Asking questions also helps you stay in the right problem-solving mindset. This mindset is always on the lookout for the answer. When you’re in this mode, you’re persistent to uncover loopholes, future problems and risks.

What kind of questions should I be asking?

Because questions can be used to set your company in the right direction, asking the wrong ones can cause you to dig a deeper hole. If you’re unsure about which questions are suitable for the problem your business is facing, start with why.

Questions that deal with expansion are inquisitions that can render positive results. These types of questions are answered through feedback. On the contrary, questions that zone in on the details of a concern are equally effective, but must be asked during the right time. It is recommended to ask this type of questions after the problem has been opened up and all the options have been laid out.

Often times, these questions are technical. Examples of questions that help narrow down the details of a problem are the following: What permits do we need to file to ensure our spot for next year’s campaign? If we run the same campaign two years from now, how much are the additional costs?

Tackling your problems head on

In most cases, difficult problems are a sign that you’re pushing in the right direction. Therefore, don’t be scared to ask questions that you or your team is unable to provide an immediate answer for. In the same light, tough questions should be revisited at the end of a meeting, for employees and staff to think about as they head back to their desk.

During a session where a lot of questions are being asked, it’s okay not to have answers for all of them. Some questions are meant to get the mind going. At the start of a meeting, questions usually start off very generic. As you go along, your team may find that some questions simply aren’t applicable to the situation or problem. When this happens, you can rephrase or change the question to better suit your newly developed mindset.

What types of questions are difficult to answer?

Particularly, questions that deal with branding require extensive knowledge in a specific industry. These types of questions include the following: What makes our brand different from our competitors? What risks is our brand prone to during the implementation and execution of our marketing strategy? These questions may require your team to look into archives and do some research on past competitors.

Lastly, don’t forget to support your answers with data. Brainstorming sessions tend to trigger radical ideas and answers. Before turning down these answers, make sure there are good reasons why they aren’t relevant.

What type of questions do you use to get the answers you’re looking for when formulating an effective marketing strategy? How has asking the right questions helped your company address key issues related to planning and execution? Let us know about your experience.

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