Develop Problem Solving Skills

'On the Job' actions for solving problems and developing problem solving skills.

Aligned with the Sales Skills Assessment.

Problem Solving Skills Development
  • Find solutions to difficult problems with ease.
  • Learn effective problem solving methods and techniques.
  • Predict the outcomes of events and actions with greater accuracy.


Gain or improve problem solving skills through brainstorming:

  1. Spend fifteen minutes each day brain storming solutions to any problem.

    If you don't have any problems to grapple with, pick a problem that a colleague has, or your employer, or just pick something off the news. Use pen and paper or if you prefer, an electronic device. Voice recognition works well theses days. I prefer paper or typing for this exercise. It slows me down and helps the ideas flow.

  2. Don't criticise any of your ideas no matter how silly they might seem.

    Self criticism suffocates the creative process. Don't entertain it at all in the brainstorm phase. You can sort your ideas after your session is complete.

  3. Keep going until you have at least twenty ideas of any sort.

    If you do this every day for three or four weeks it will become a habit. Each time you do it you will come up with some good ideas. After a few weeks you find yourself thinking up twenty ideas with ease. Some of them will be brilliant. It will be so easy that you will want to give them away wherever the ideas might do some good.

These articles offer further ideas:


Gain or improve problem solving skills through methods and techniques:

  1. Get a challenging problem in mind and break it up.

    Most problems can be dissected into numerous component parts, the more the better. Each part of a problem is much easier to solve in isolation and so if you can think of a solution for each part, you are likely to have a solution for the whole problem, ready to assemble.

  2. Imagine the worst possible consequence of a problem and then pretend that the worst has happened.

    Now you can use 20/20 hindsight to identify what should have been done to avoid the disaster. If you have ever experienced a catastrophe, no matter how small, remember how your hindsight instantly informed you of what you should have done to avoid the consequences. But wait, this is just imagination. So now you have a solution before things go awry.

  3. Use brute force to solve the problem.

    This sounds silly but stay with me. Adopt any solution and trust yourself and the people involved to make it work. Most plans are remade on the fly to deal with unexpected circumstances and events. For many situations taking immediate action is more important than pondering over what to do. As Stephen Covey put it, just "keep the end in mind".

These articles offer further ideas:


Gain or Improve problem solving skills by developing foresight:

  1. Call it at every opportunity.

    Make a habit of predicting the outcomes of situations that you encounter or observe. Keep a record of the circumstance, what you expect to happen, and why. 

    Once a year review your list of predictions and quantify your accuracy.

    Consider where you were right and where you were wrong noting the alignment and errors in your reasoning.

    Involve your friends in a competition to see who has the most accurate prediction for given sets of circumstances.

    The more you practice, the better you will become. Soon the future will become transparent to you and all the opportunities you need will become apparent.

These articles offer further ideas:


Get the entire collection of over 100 hyperlinked on-the-job sales skills development actions together with our sales skills assessment in a neat indexed PDF document.

If you need to improve problem solving skills or need to start a performance improvement programme, we can help. Telephone +44 (0)1392 851500. We will be pleased to discuss your needs or talk through some options. Alternatively send email to for a prompt reply or use the contact form here.