Problem Solving and Decision Making Techniques for Administrative Professionals

Administrative Assistant Resource
April 17, 2013 — 4,397 views  
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As an administrative professional, the task of solving problems and making decisions is something that comes inherently with the job description. You might be proud of yourself on being an analyzer or a good professional with skills. But the fact is that every problem you solve and every decision you make will have consequences, good and bad. Sometimes, you have to make tough decisions. There is no rule book that defines good and bad decisions in this field. Everything is in the grey area and open-for-discussion. To help you with these tasks, here are a few tips.

Problem Solving Involves Decision Making

The first thing you should understand is that problem solving and decision making are intertwined activities, the latter being a subsequent part of the former. When you ultimately solve a problem, you would have come up with a solution, which in itself will be a decision. So, it is important that you look at it as a single activity.

Here is a step by step approach that you can use to solve all types of problems. Keep in mind that this is a very generic approach and you will have to modify it based on the problem at hand.

Problem Evaluation

Evaluate the problem. Look at the consequences it is causing. It is important that you approach the problem with a blank slate and gather facts as you go along. But if you have some background on the issue, use it to your advantage. Talk to different people about what exactly the problem is and its ramifications. If there are resources, facts, and figures that highlight the problem, look at them and analyze them. By the end of this evaluation, you should have a good idea of the problem and its effects.

Possible Alternatives

The next step is to come up with all the possible alternatives. You can do this alone or brainstorm with the help of a team. It is good to involve others in the brainstorming session. That will give you different perspectives on the problem and possible alternatives to solving it. Look at the pros and cons of each solution. Make a list if you have to. At the end of the day, your task is simple. Pick the best possible solution in which the pros outweigh the cons. Also, the solution should ensure that the problem will not recur again.

Making the Decision and Implementing It

Decision making should be your job alone as an administrative professional, even though you have asked the help of others for possible solutions. Before you make a decision, double-check all the facts. Consult with experts if necessary. Modify the decision if needed based on your evaluation.

Ultimately, you reach the last step of problem solving which is the implementation of the decision. As mentioned, some decisions will have bad consequences. But as an administrative professional, you should come up with some damage control strategies. This in itself is another problem and you can use the aforementioned process to solve it. Make sure that the decision is implemented effectively and you have limited the consequences of the decision to the best of your ability.

Administrative Assistant Resource