Businesses exist to solve problems. They get rewarded by the people or organizations whose needs they meet. That reward comes as remuneration, and new opportunities to solve problems for even more people.
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But they can’t succeed at this unless they’re run by individuals or teams who are problem solvers themselves. This would mean that they possess skills that enable them to meet the needs of their customers.
They will also be willing—and driven –to put those skills to work in creating solutions. This characteristic is even less common among prospective employees. And it’s just as important as any other trait that they should have.
How do you build a team with these characteristics?
This article takes you through the steps to building a team that’s skilled and motivated enough to make your business succeed.
The Steps To Building A Problem Solving Team
These are the steps you’ll have to take when you’re creating a team that solves problems.
Define The Problem You Want To Solve
What problem does your business exist to solve? This is a question you should answer before setting up a business.
A dry-cleaning business solves the problem of dirty laundry, and of the owner not having enough time to take care of it. A car dealer solves the problem of a person’s lack of a self-owned transport vehicle (or status symbol).
When you know what problem you want to solve, you can find out what skills you’ll need to create and execute the solution.
Find Out The Skills You Need To Solve The Problem
Let’s say your company builds websites for people. In other words, it solves the problem of a limited online presence for its customers. What skills would be required to create and execute the solution your company provides (i.e. web development services)?
You would be looking for skills like proficiency in the programming languages required to build a functional website. So you’ll hire people who possess this skill. This approach applies to other kinds of businesses.
But you should check for more fundamental problem-solving skills, like creativity, analysis, research, communication (verbal or written), active listening, numeracy, and so on. The degree to which potential hires should possess them will depend on the nature of the roles they’re taking on.
Degree and professional certifications may indicate the skill that their holders have acquired. But this isn’t always the case. You may need to screen people with these certifications to determine that they are the right fit for your company.
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Draw Up A Recruitment Plan
A recruitment plan is a roadmap to hiring qualified candidates who will fill vacant roles in a company. It lays out the ‘journey’ from identifying the job opening to interviewing candidates.
Your recruitment plan should have a timeline, indicate how you’re going to publicize the job opening, list the tools for candidate assessment, contain the interview schedule, and define background checks.
Two things are especially important here: your selection criteria and your assessment tools. There could be different sets of criteria for screening applications, and the interview proper. Assessment tools (e.g. tests) should be designed to select candidates who demonstrate the requisite problem-solving skills.
Have An Effective Employee On-Boarding Process
This is crucial for building a problem-solving team. New employees have to be introduced to the culture of your company and equipped with the tools and information they need to succeed in their roles.
Your team’s performance will partly depend on how well they’ve understood the mission of their employer. Ensure that they appreciate your company’s mission and vision, and are oriented to work in line with them.
Emphasize teamwork, and let them engage in team bonding and team-building exercises. This way, they’ll learn to contribute their unique abilities to creating and executing solutions.
A team is only as effective as its members make it. If they’re continually sharpening their skills and acquiring new ones, the team will likely produce better output.
That’s why you should encourage your team to continually improve themselves. Refresher courses, extra professional certifications, and even consuming more useful information, will help them become better at their job.
Let them see how this benefits them as individuals, and enhances their career prospects going forward.
It takes time, deliberate effort, and a clear vision of your preferred outcomes to build a team that solves problems. But it’s doable. Just follow the steps we have outlined here, and you’ll eventually get to that goal.
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