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If intelligence alone isn’t enough, then what makes the difference?To answer the question of what great problem solvers do, my colleague Jack Zenger and I examined two datasets.
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You will note that raw intelligence in not one of the skills; however, one should always assume that it is a base skill of these top problem solvers. Steve Jobs is a great example of someone who relied on the deep expertise of others.
He had the vision and ideas, but lacked the deep technical expertise make his ideas come to life.
Research done in the 1990s at Bell Labs, one of the most innovative research institutions on the planet, showcases this principle clearly.
They identified the most productive scientists in the labs, whom they called “Stars,” and looked at what differentiated them from other scientists. And the decisions we make need to solve the problems we face. How many times have you seen “problem solvers wanted” in job descriptions?Making your diagnosis is about understanding what hurts and why. Plan and Implement Your Solution Give this part plenty of thought too. Evaluating the success of your solution is a vital – and often neglected step – because it shows you clearly whether your solution is the correct one, or whether you need to go back to step one and start over.Think about different situations you have been in : in school, college, university, in work experience, in team sports or clubs, volunteering or in your personal life.There will no doubt have been a number of problems you have overcome and many ways you have made a situation better.Unfortunately it isn’t good enough to just say you are a good problem solver on your CV, you’ve got to to show your skills and wear them like a badge of honour.You need to think of examples of when you have seen a problem and put in a fix that has made it better.One focused on individual contributors (6,000 people) and the other focused on managers and executives (76,000 people).Five skills emerged that enabled people to be great problem solvers. The best problem solvers either had deep expertise and experience themselves or access to others with that expertise and experience.Problem solving is an important skill in all aspects of our lives, from helping us work through issues with family and friends to supporting us through challenging problems at school, college or university.It’s no wonder then that it is one of those skills that employers look for their next recruit, but how do they check you’ve got the skills before you start the job?