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Where are you on the procrastination scale?

 

12 ways to change habits & improve your time management

How often do you find yourself thinking: “I’ll do that tomorrow” or “I’ll just do this first”?  Then you find that the number of things you have to do stacks up and you feel overwhelmed with all you have to do.

Procrastination is tempting and often the easy way out, but it is not a time management issue per se.  It is about mind-set and behaviour issues, and about the habits you form.

What does procrastination look like?

At work you may find yourself getting stressed about deadlines and commitments.  You may find yourself completing tasks at the last minute or asking for extensions. As a result, you may find yourself working at a time when you could be relaxing.  In your personal life, procrastination could be waiting until the last-minute to buy Christmas presents, waiting until you get a final demand before paying a bill, or perhaps missing out on a bargain because you didn’t get around to buying it.  Whatever the situation, procrastination is detrimental to you and can and often does manifest in health issues relating to stress.

According to Joseph Ferrari, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at De Paul University in Chicago, real procrastinators tell themselves 5 lies:

  1. They overestimate the time they have left to perform tasks
  2. They underestimate the time it takes to complete tasks
  3. They overestimate how motivated they will feel whenever they are putting things off until
  4. They mistakenly think that succeeding at a task requires that they feel like doing it
  5. They mistakenly believe that working when not in the mood is suboptimal.

How can you stop procrastinating?

Procrastination is a learned behaviour and the good news is that it can be unlearned.  To change you need to do more than just want to stop procrastinating, you also need to change your attitude.  Here’s 12 things you can do to change your habits:

  1. Avoid distraction tasks
  2. Don’t look at emails as they pop up
  3. Avoid quick internet searches that turn into hours
  4. Avoid saying yes to tasks which support other people’s objectives rather than your own
  5. Get rid of tasks you are never going to do
  6. Realistically estimate the time to complete tasks
  7. Acknowledge your emotions around a task, e.g. you may be worried about failure or don’t know how to start, and work on resolving that rather than avoiding the task
  8. Give yourself rewards for each task completed
  9. Learn to make decisions
  10. Break down tasks into manageable chunks
  11. Set realistic and achievable goals for completing tasks
  12. Know yourself and your parameters, e.g. don’t plan a three-hour writing session without breaks or, if you are a people person, without seeing another person.

Exercise

  • What three things should you have done in the past week that you have procrastinated over?
  • Think about the reasons why you procrastinated
  • Looking ahead, what can you realistically do to avoid procrastinating on similar tasks?

The above advice is from the everywoman workbook, Managing your time (member login is required to download the whole workbook).  Let us know what techniques work for you by leaving a comment below.  everywoman is about learning and supporting women in business, so please do share anything that would benefit others.

If you are not a member of the everywomanNetwork* you can download a preview of the Managing your time workbook from the bookshelf on our Personal Development page or go to www.everywoman.com/join to sign up and gain instant access to the whole workbook plus a range of exclusive tools that support your personal development.

*everywomanNetwork membership gives you access to workbooks, webinars, interviews, case studies and expert advice, plus promotional opportunities for you or your business, member discounts and offers, and the ability to connect with like-minded women.

3 techniques to boost your problem solving skills

 

We are each faced with problems every day.  Some will be major and some will be mere irritations, but it will be your problem solving skills and how you deal with the problem at hand that sets you apart from colleagues.

Whatever the problem you are faced with, you need to begin with ideas on how to solve it.  It is important to remember that the first stage is about getting as many ideas as possible without being concerned with quality, risk or downside.

    Brainstorming– this is a well-known and very useful technique to generate multiple ideas in a short period of time.
    1. Try to use a mix of people with various experiences
    2. Either have one person contribute the first idea on how to solve the problem and then continue round to everyone in turn until all ideas are exhausted, or ask people to shout out ideas, as long as no-one is talked over.
    3. Do not allow anyone to criticise, evaluate or judge
    4. Do not put pressure on people to give an idea
    5. Allow people to piggy-back on someone else’s idea
    6. All ideas are valid – no idea is too crazy or outlandish
        The alphabet– this technique works like random word association where you give a small trigger to spark creativity.  On a whiteboard or flipchart, write the alphabet down the side and ask people to come up with ideas related to the problem that begin with the letter of the alphabet.  You could either do this in one large group or break out into smaller ones and come together at the end.
            Role play– this technique will help people see ideas from different perspectives, by trying to put themselves into someone else’s shoes.  Ask the group to name famous people or stakeholders in the organisation.  Display these for everyone to see.  Now go through the list and for each name ask the group: “What would X think of …?”  As soon as the ideas are exhausted, move onto the next person on the list.  For example:
              1. Problem to solve: How do we increase our client base?

                i.      Superman – find some way you can rescue him

                ii.      Madonna – give to a charity they support, hold a huge event, get noticed

                iii.      Dame Kelly Holmes – practice the approach, do something every day towards the goal, once you have reached the goal … make another

                Whichever technique you use, when all ideas are exhausted, discuss and evaluate them to select the single idea, or combination of ideas, that represents the most viable solution.

                To get the creative juices flowing amongst your team, you could start the process with a light-hearted scenario before diving into the real problem.  Try something like … uses for a pen pot, a flipchart stand, scissors or a ball of string.

                Have you used any of the above techniques to good effect before, or been involved in the process?  Have you used any other techniques and did they work or not work, and why?  Drop a comment below and let other readers learn from your successes.  everywoman is about learning and supporting women in business, so please do share anything that could benefit others.

                If you are not a member of the everywomanNetwork* you can download a preview of the Killer Problem Solving workbook from the bookshelf on our Personal Development page or go to www.everywoman.com/join to sign up and gain instant access to the whole workbook plus a range of exclusive tools that support your personal development.

                * everywomanNetwork membership gives you access to workbooks, webinars, interviews, case studies and expert advice, plus promotional opportunities for you or your business, member discounts and offers, and the ability to connect with like-minded women.

                What to look for in a mentor

                 

                When a mentoring relationship works, there is no denying that there is a positive and long-lasting effect on the mentee, but as everyone’s needs are different, what makes a good mentor for one woman in business may not ‘fit’ with another.  If you are looking to be mentored, do you know what you need/want and therefore what to look for to get the right ‘fit’ for you?

                In a recent survey of some everywoman members, we asked what they wanted from a mentor.  The answers varied, as we expected, but the responses may help you focus on what you need.  We asked: “A mentor is a successful person, currently in a more senior position in an organisation who is further ahead on the path they wish to travel and is able and willing to help you on your way by …”:

                • Telling you about their own experiences in a way which is useful to the mentee
                • Pointing you in the right direction in terms of professional development
                • Letting you learn from their mistakes
                • Opening doors to enhance your networking
                • Possibly including you in a project they are working on
                • Taking a genuine interest in your work – supporting and challenging
                • Looking out for you in terms of opportunities – projects, secondments, etc

                Do any of the above resonate with you?  Before you go any further, have a think about what you want from your mentor, remembering that he/she is there to facilitate your development.

                Just as each mentee is different, so is each mentor, but there are commonalities you need to look for.  A great mentor will demonstrate the following attributes so look for them when making your decision about who to work with:

                workbook

                A final point to look for in a mentor is that they have the time to commit to you.  Before you formalise a relationship with your mentor, it is worth exploring how the time they will make available for you will be split … regular contact for short periods is more desirable than less frequent contact for longer periods of time.  Not many people at a senior level have hours of time they can block out, so make sure you both work within your own constraints.

                If you are a mentor or mentee, or have been in the past, please add your learnings and/or experiences to the comment box beneath this post.  everywoman is about learning and supporting women in business and your first-hand input will be invaluable for other women in business.

                The advice and guidance in this post is taken from the everywoman workbook, Getting the most out of being mentored.  Use your member login to download the workbook and access other material to support your personal development.

                If you are a member of the everywomanNetwork, login and gain access to the workbook plus associated videos, online seminars and articles.  If you are not yet a member, go to www.everywoman.com/join and sign-up for instant access and to take control of your personal development.

                Do you hold any influence at work?

                 

                The 4 steps to find out who and when you should influence

                Influence gives you power and has an impact on so many things, including whether you get that promotion, win the big contract, who your clients are and how elevated your profile is.  The influence you hold has a dramatic impact on the trajectory of your career, or the success of your business, and the experiences you are exposed to.  But do you know what influence is?

                What is influencing?

                In simple terms, influencing is about getting things done.  It is about moving things forward, providing direction by using positive interpersonal and communication skills.  It is about using your energy to direct change.  It is NOT about forcing people to do what you want.

                You are likely to spend a large portion of your time influencing and being influenced.  When this is done effectively, most people do not label it, they just acknowledge that they are working towards a common goal.

                 

                everywoman’s interaction with members shows that being able to influence is a skill very much in demand so we developed a workbook especially for you called Extending your influence (your member login is required to access the complete workbook and associated tools), which the advice in this post is taken from.

                Who should you influence?

                Step 1:  There are many stakeholders in your business life that you need to influence on a day-to-day basis.  This is often referred to as your ‘Sphere of influence’.

                 Exercise2

                Think about what your sphere of influence will look like and create your own.  It is OK if you need to add a few more branches or sub-circles than in the diagram above.  The key to being successful in business relationships is the ability to influence at all levels and across the board, internally and externally, so do bear that in mind.

                Step 2: Put a big tick next to those people you already influence effectively, a question mark by those you aren’t sure about and a cross by those you know you are not influencing.  For those you are not sure about, think about why that might be and what you can do to find out whether you are influencing them or not.

                When should you influence?

                Step 3:  Steven Covey, author of ‘7 habits of Highly Effective People’ created a simple model that helps you work out when you should use influence.

                Exercise5 web

                Exercise web

                 

                Make a commitment

                Step 4:  Make a commitment to improve your influencing skills right here right now.  Add a comment below to declare the top three things you are going to do to extend your influence following the answers you get to the above exercises.  Return to this page when you are further down the line and let other readers know how you are getting on.  Declaring what you are committing to will not only make what you want to achieve more real, but it will motivate others that if you can do it, so can they.

                If you are a member of the everywomanNetwork, login and gain access to the workbook plus associated videos, online seminars and articles.  If you are not yet a member, go to www.everywoman.com/join and sign-up for instant access and to take control of your personal development.

                Fail to plan or plan to fail – time management techniques that work

                 

                We live in a 24/7 world and are easily contactable in as well as out of work hours.  Some of the technology that enables constant connectivity is useful, but without a doubt it can also be a distraction and prevent you from being effective and achieving all you need to.

                Time management is a key leadership skill and the everywoman workbook, Managing your time (your member login is required to download the workbook and access associated tools on the subject), is full of time management techniques to help your work days be more effective.

                Planning your time

                It is a fact that planning takes time.  However, a failure to plan your time will mean you work without any order or structure … which will result in wasting time.  Setting objectives, priorities and milestones will help prevent the constant fire-fighting you experience and enable you to focus on the really important tasks.  To plan means you save time because you can anticipate:

                • Results to be achieved
                • Activities that may be omitted
                • Obstacles that may arise along the way
                • People that need to be involved
                • Information that should be gathered

                How to plan

                The nature of many businesses is the need to react quickly and efficiently to customer needs, so it is unrealistic to be able to plan every moment of the day.  Have a think about an average day and estimate the percentage of the day you spend reacting.  If you spend 60% of your time reacting, then you have the remaining 40% to fill with planned activities.

                You may find a few minutes before a meeting starts, or a bit of time before an important call.  Keep a list of short tasks you can do to make the most use of this time.  These 5-10 minute bursts can add up to hours of lost time over a month.

                Ideas might be:

                • Fill in your timesheet
                • Clean up your email inbox
                • Update a contact’s details
                • Sign some documents
                • Update budget estimations

                Top tip: Rational vs reactive thinking – planning requires rational thinking.  Take time to think, decide and then act, rather than have a reaction to an external event.  The more you react, the less you plan.

                Have a planning tool

                If you put everything into the calendar on your phone but bever sync it with Outlook, or your work calendar, then that system is not working for you.  Everyone has a favourite planning tool, just make sure it is an effective one.  Use colours and images to enable you to get the most out of the information you need, at a quick glance.

                One final thought

                Don’t be too rigid with your plans or you may miss opportunities and challenges that could help push your business or career forward.

                If you are a member of the everywomanNetwork, login and gain access to the workbook plus associated videos, online seminars and articles.  If you are not yet a member, go to www.everywoman.com/join and sign-up for instant access and to take control of your personal development.

                3 ways to encourage others to buy into your personal brand

                 

                Do you have the courage to change what might be holding you back from making the most of what you have to offer?

                Through interactions with women in business at our events and regular communication with everywoman members, we know that women recognise the importance of developing both the technical skills that go with their chosen career as well as their softer skills, but many feel challenged about how to do this, especially regarding soft skills.  Our workbook, An introduction to personal branding (your member login is required to download the workbook and access associated tools on the subject), takes one of these skills and guides you through discovering, checking and finally promoting your personal brand so you can make the most of what you have to offer in the workplace.

                Personal branding – are you ready?

                Your personal brand is a clear, concise and authentic way of communicating who you are and what you are all about.  Your personal brand works in exactly the same way as a company or product brand and you need to advertise, market and promote it to get noticed.

                Just as a company will determine what it says about its products/services and then how it will promote these messages to the audience it needs to reach to achieve the end goal, so should you.  Consider your assets (what you have to offer) and then think about how you communicate these to the people who matter in your career.

                The 3 channels to market your person brand.

                Once you have established what you have to offer, how you communicate these is split into three channels:

                  1. Verbal – telephone conversations, voicemail message, chit chat, presenting, etc
                  2. Physical – what you wear, body language, the care you drive, the mobile you use, etc
                  3. Written – email signature, LinkedIn profile, reports and presentations, etc

                    Exercise:

                    • Have a think about how you come into contact with your key audiences and add/delete from the examples above.
                    • What forms of contact, listed under the three brand channels, could be new opportunities for you?
                    • Create a simple plan that maps out how you are going to use or adapt the ways you come into contact with others, and then – most importantly – DO IT!

                    Top tip: Think about the ways you pick up clues to other people and their personal branding that help you form your perception and judgement about them.  It is the tiniest things that will make you buy into someone (or steer well clear), so it is likely to be the same for people buying into you.

                    Once you have completed the exercise above, and worked out what you need to do, when and how, you will be firmly on the right path to make the most of what you have to offer.  Did you learn anything new about yourself?

                    Everywoman exists to develop and support women like you in business, and it would be of fantastic benefit to others if you could add a comment below about what you have taken away from the advice in this blog post, plus any results you have achieved as inspiration.  It should only take you a few minutes to do.

                    If you are a member of the everywomanNetwork, login and gain access to the workbook plus associated videos, online seminars and articles.  If you are not yet a member, go to www.everywoman.com/join and sign-up for instant access and to take control of your personal development.

                    Get the most out of being a mentee

                     
                    3 steps to be an effective mentee

                    Most accomplished people will attribute at least part of their success to having had a great mentor.  Someone who shared valuable insight and knowledge, showed them a path they hadn’t thought of, and encouraged them to think beyond the ordinary.

                    If you already have a mentor, or are thinking about being a mentee, there are three areas to work on that will enable you to get the most out of your mentor/mentee relationship:

                      1. Goals and objectives

                        The mentor’s role includes identifying your personal development needs and helping to agree a set of goals and objectives.  These hep decide where you should be heading and what you need to do to get there.  Make sure the goals and objectives are what you should achieve, not what your mentor wants you to achieve.  A useful technique is to use a SWOT analysis to highlight areas that need attention.  Below are some issues you could think about when building your own SWOT analysis.

                        page1

                          2. Develop the right mindset

                            As well as having a clear vision of what you want to achieve, you also need to enthusiastic and motivated but above all, you need to be committed and take a proactive approach to the process.  Below are some of the attributes required to get the most out of mentoring:

                             

                            image5

                              3. Develop your communication skills

                                Hearing what your mentor says and being open to receiving feedback are key to your progress.

                                • Listening skills - You need to be a good listener so you can fully understand what is being said to you.  This may seem obvious, but how many times have you thought you were listening and then suddenly realise you have not digested a word?
                                • Non-verbal communication – This is a natural, unconscious language that transmits a person’s true feelings and intentions and gives clues to those around them.  Be aware of people’s body language and whether what they are saying matches how they are acting.
                                • Paraphrasing – Repeating back what the speak has said in the conversation to you lets the speaker know that you are listening.  At the same time this helps fix the information in your mind.

                                The above information is taken from the everywoman workbook, Getting the most out of mentoring (your member login is required to access the workbook and other associated tools on the subject).  

                                Are you a mentor or mentee?  How have you found the experience?  Do you feel your career has progressed as a result?  In the spirit of helping other women in business, they would benefit hugely from you leaving a comment about your experiences and advice you have on mentoring.  You can easily do so below.

                                Login to the everywomanNetwork

                                Join the everywomanNetwork

                                Being an everywoman member is about support and working on your personal development.  If you have any tips on how you solve problems, or want to let us know how we could help you in the future, then please leave a comment below.

                                 

                                If you are a member of the everywomanNetwork, login and gain access to the workbook plus associated videos, online seminars and articles.  If you are not yet a member, go to www.everywoman.com/join and sign-up for instant access and to take control of your personal development.

                                Use your power to promote yourself

                                 

                                Are you leaving the next step in your career to others, or are you taking control, finding opportunities and pushing yourself forward?

                                Promoting yourself makes many women feel uneasy, but to be the business woman you want to be you need to take charge of your career.  Don’t sit back and wait for something to happen, with the risk of being overlooked.  Take control by using your power.

                                Using your power

                                As a woman in business you will have many work relationships.  To tap into your power you need to know which of these relationships to build and manage, and who you need to influence to help promote yourself.  In order to do this you first need to understand the different types of power:

                                1. Coercive power is the ability to punish with negative consequences if someone doesn’t do what is wanted by the person holding the power, e.g. the threat to fire if targets are not met, demotion, blackmailing, bad-mouthing, unpleasant task or projects
                                2. Reward power is the ability to offer a positive incentive if criteria are met, e.g. a pay rise, special consideration, office move, new role
                                3. Legitimate power comes with job title and role, e.g. the CEO has discretion and should make high level strategic decisions.
                                4. Expert power is linked to skills, experiences, insight and real knowledge.  The IT help desk is a classic example.
                                5. Referent power typically links being charismatic, having people who look up to you and being highly trusted and respected.  This power often comes through when someone handles a tricky situation well, and is appreciated for their values.
                                6. Connection power is about whom you know and your relationship with them, again looking at stakeholders across the board.  Typically this power links to effective networking.
                                7. Information power comes with what you know that others might not.  This isn’t about gossip, it’s about being in tune with what is happening in the company or your industry, for example.

                                Now think about the people you work with who are key to your career progression – let’s call them stakeholders.  They can be senior management, clients, suppliers, etc.  What power do they use with you?  What can you learn from them?  Add your stakeholders to the first column of the table below then complete the rows to build a picture of how you can use your power.

                                chart

                                Build your power

                                Your next step is to build your power and so you can be recognised more, build your reputation, brand and worth to your organisation.  Read through the following points and for each, complete the sentence “What I can do …”.

                                1. Coercive – let’s not worry about this one!
                                2. Reward – what are your company’s policies?  What can you offer a colleague that has helped you?  Can you offer time off for several late nights in a role?
                                3. Legitimate – are you exercising the full power of your role?
                                4. Expert – do people know what your skills are?  Are there areas of knowledge and skills you aren’t tapping into?  For example, a member of an HR team used to be a graphic designer.  She was asked to work on other high profile projects because of this untapped skill, which in turn helped her to become a more integrated HR business partner.
                                5. Referent – do you put yourself out there to solve problems and listen to others?  Do you use this power outside the office … think about how and when you use it out of the office and how you can translate this to inside the office.
                                6. Connection – are you aware of all the connections you have?  Do you make an effort to connect people, even if you don’t need to be part of the relationship?
                                7. Information – where can you tap into the information flow?  Think about what you could find out that would be useful for your business, or even wider stakeholders.

                                The above information is taken from the everywoman workbook, Promoting yourself (your member login is required to access the workbook and other associated tools on the subject).  Download your copy now to find more ways to promote yourself plus get access to lots of tips and tools to put ideas into action.

                                It will be good to hear from you about how you have used your power to promote yourself.  Did you find it came naturally to do so?  Did you feel uncomfortable?  Sharing your experiences will benefit other women in business who can learn from what worked for you.  Please leave a comment below.

                                Login to the everywomanNetwork

                                Join the everywomanNetwork
                                Being an everywoman member is about support and working on your personal development.  If you have any tips on how you solve problems, or want to let us know how we could help you in the future, then please leave a comment below.

                                If you are a member of the everywomanNetwork, login and gain access to the workbook plus associated videos, online seminars and articles.  If you are not yet a member, go to www.everywoman.com/join and sign-up for instant access and to take control of your personal development.

                                Celebrating and advancing women entrepreneurs

                                 

                                Yesterday we celebrated the eleventh annual NatWest everywoman Awards at the stunning Dorchester. A date that is firmly etched into many people’s minds as ‘the true start to Christmas’ this annual event is a celebration of the incredible female entrepreneurs whose passion, tenacity and talent is propelling them to success. This year was to be no exception. 

                                NatWest everywoman Awards winners 2013 

                                Dame Mary Perkins, co-founder of Specsavers really summed up the mood when she addressed the audience "Young women need strong role models in business” – it’s Awards like this that create these role models. And talking of role models, I was delighted to see Kelly Hoppen MBE receive the prestigious everywoman Ambassador Award – for a successful woman whose achievements and high profile are inspiring more young women to excel. Kelly epitomises this and is a real champion for British entrepreneurs. She encouraged the 300+ audience to ‘step outside the box’ – to think about what you can do to make your business better. As she says ‘if you love what you do...anything is achievable.'

                                The Spirit of everywoman Award went to Commander Ellie Ablett – this Award honours a woman whose determination, commitment and dedication has changed the landscape for women in business in the UK.  Ellie founded the Naval Servicewomen’s Network and is one of just 30 women to hold the rank of Commander in the Royal Navy, where she is currently leading the Logistics Department on board HMS Bulwark.  Just brilliant.

                                With the room buzzing, it was onto the main Awards presentation – with Awards compere for the day - Mary Nightingale, one of ITV’s best known reporters. From an online petfood business, a company specialising in roofing and cladding, a chocolate manufacturer, a company providing apps for people with disabilities to a comic book publisher for educating children - to name but a few, the 2013 winners were nothing short of exceptional.

                                It was then on to the final Award – the NatWest everywoman Award - recognising a woman who has overcome significant challenges to achieve outstanding business success. Our worthy winner for 2013 was Tracy Mort, aged 39, from Manchester who set up affordable luxury beauty business Grace Cole following redundancy. Since then she has grown it to a £10m business, having faced both professional hurdles and personal tragedy. Her true entrepreneurial spirit, passion and courage are incredible and her work ethic and bold determination to not give in when the going gets tough is truly inspiring.  

                                What struck me most about this year’s Awards (along with awe for these women) was how we often hear rather depressing statistics about women entrepreneurs and how few and far between they are. For me, these Awards really show how the tide is turning, with more and more women seeing setting up their businesses as a viable option. And with RBS research identifying that during the economic downturn we have seen an increase of 300,000 more women choosing self-employment there is little wonder that we received at record number of nominations in 2013!

                                I’m sure I’m not alone in looking forward to next year’s Awards already, I know there are yet more women entrepreneurs whose successes should, and will be, celebrated.

                                 

                                Are your problem solving skills up-to-scratch?

                                 

                                Only a lucky few get through life without facing any problems – whether business or personal.  So unless you are one of these extremely fortunate people, you will benefit from learning or honing problem solving skills.

                                Effective, logical and rational problem solving is an underrated skill.  Becoming known for your problem solving skills will make you a go-to person when issues need resolving which will potentially put you at the coal face of many opportunities.  Feedback from everywomanNetwork members tells us that you are aware of this and consider problem solving skills are important when it comes to progressing your career.

                                To help you we have created the Killer Problem Solving workbook (member login is required to access the complete workbook) which explains the stages of effective problem solving and gives tips and exercises to develop a process to help you problem solve and make decisions.

                                What is problem solving?

                                First of all, you need to understand that problem solving should not be confused with making a decision.  There are many problems that do not need problem solving techniques, they just someone to make a decision.  For those that need more than a Yes or No, you need a structured approach to solving the problem.

                                It is tempting to think that you don’t need to spend time or energy to put a process behind problem solving, but consider these benefits before discounting the need to:

                                  To your business
                                  1. Better and improved products and services
                                  2. Envisioning future developments within your industry and staying ahead of the competition
                                  3. Happier workforce, leading to better performance
                                  To your team
                                  1. Open and more effective communication
                                  2. Taking responsibility for problems and their solutions
                                  3. Sharing ideas and managing risk
                                  To you
                                  1. More capable in your role
                                  2. Respect from your team for involving them
                                  3. Confidence in the outcomes
                                  4. Opportunity to develop and tap into the experience and insights of others

                                    Creative problem solving processes

                                    The problem solving process is a structured approach, using formal techniques for analysing the problem and it involves idea generation, evaluating ideas and selecting an idea and implementing it.  The term ‘creative problem solving’ is often used because creativity is the thinking that helps to generate the solutions to problems.

                                    There are four stages to a creative problem solving process:

                                    1. Problem identification – what is really going on / why is it a problem?
                                    2. Idea generation – what are some of the ways you could solve the problem?
                                    3. Evaluation – how can you choose the right solution?
                                    4. Implementation – put the right solution in place.

                                    Exercise

                                    1. Think of a problem you are currently facing and go through the four stages above.
                                    2. Think of a problem you have faced in the past and apply the 4 stage thinking approach.  Did your solution change?  Do you think that applying a creative problem solving process would have given you a better solution?

                                    If you have advice relating to the problem solving skills that work for you that you can pass on to other readers of this blog, please leave them as a comment below.  everywoman is about learning and supporting women in business, so please do share anything that could benefit others.

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                                    If you are not a member of the everywomanNetwork* you can download a preview of the Killer Problem Solving workbook from the bookshelf on our Personal Development page or go to www.everywoman.com/join to sign up and gain instant access to the whole workbook plus a range of exclusive tools that support your personal development.

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