How to Become Great Problem Solvers

What do you do when you encounter a problem at work?

  1. Panic

  2. Tell your boss straight away

  3. Consider the issue and think about some potential solutions?

  4. Tackle the problem head on without stopping to think?


In every industry, but especially in Publishing, problem-solving is extremely important in one’s day-to-day life, and is a great skill that needs to be exercised and refined.

Collaborative problem solving with your colleagues is one of the most effective strategies you can use. Brainstorming has sometimes a bad reputation for being dispersive, but when done with some guidelines it can really help collaborative thinking and creativity. During a brainstorming session, you should always aim to build on each other ideas, and welcome feedback and suggestions on how to approach the problem in front of you.

At the SYP workshop, How to Have a Happy Hustle this week, the session focussed on precisely this, and how working as a team and thinking creatively about how to solve an isse can make you come up with great ideas and practical solutions. The workshop was led by Bec Evans, who has been in publishing herself for 20 years, during which she learnt to see problems as a way to generate new ideas. Some helpful tips that we took away from Bec were:

  • Embrace urgency as a motivation to be creative. Innovation thrives under constraint!

  • Trust your colleagues and welcome their ideas when you’re brainstorming

  • Try to rephrase the problem starting with “How might we…”, which would put you in the right mindset to work out a solution

When we left the event we thought about how we could share what we had learnt to help our candidates stand out in their careers by being great problem solvers. Easy, if you follow these steps:

  1. Problems come up in and out of work every day that need solving

  2. Never cover up or ignore a mistake  or issue– view it as a problem that needs solving

  3. Don’t Panic!

  4. Think creatively about how to solve this

  5. Consider all the parties involved and what a great solution for each party might look like

  6. Share the situation with your boss or colleagues and present all the different solutions with how it might affect each stakeholder

  7. Ask for input and advice

  8. Agree a solution

  9. Implement

  10. Place Problem Solving as a skill on your CV!