Differences between Problem Solving and Decision Making

84 0

This article contains information on the differences between Problem Solving and Decision Making as well as how to improve them.

Problem Solving and Decision Making

Life always presents us with challenges that require solutions. In such situations, a conscious action which involves critical thinking must be taken to solve these problems. From career choice, choice of a life partner to the brand of gadgets to purchase, etc, whether good or bad, life is always about making decisions.

Oftentimes, the words, problem solving and decision making are often used interchangeably but in the real sense, they are nowhere synonymous to each other.

IMPORTANT PROCESSES INVOLVED IN PROBLEM SOLVING AND DECISION MAKING 

Although these words are connected, they are still very different. Problem solving and decision making skills are very important attributes of any one in leadership positions.

Considering the differences, problem solving is an analytical process or technique used to identify the possible solutions to a situation. In other words, problem solving involves step by step processes to identifying a possible solution to a challenge. In order to solve a problem, the following processes are involved.

1. Identification of the Problem

For every problem there must be a root cause. Therefore, the first process to problem solving is to identify the problem to be solved. This stage involves having a sincere discussion that can bring possible problems to the surface.

2. Problem Analysis

Sometimes, what is perceived or identified to be a problem may turn out not being the real problem. The process of problem analysis ensures that the problem you are seeking to solve is actually the right problem.

This is a crucial stage in problem solving because it helps you to go for an appropriate solution to the problem.

3. Solution Generation

Once the problem has been properly analyzed and seen to be the actual problem, the next process is to generate different ideas to solve the problem.

The key to ensuring the success of this stage is to encourage quick, creative thinking and create an open space where all ideas are considered. It is from the various ideas that a possible solution can be developed.

4. Decision Making

This is a very important process in problem solving. It is not enough to develop a solution. A problem is not yet solved if the possible solutions are not implemented.

For instance, the marketing team of an organization identified the use of cold messaging to be the only solution to retaining the loyalty of their customers. Before this can be done, the team will also make decisions on how to go about sending the message by answering a series of questions.

Will it be through email or bulk SMS?

Will it be a weekly or monthly exercise? Etc. All these are likely things to be decided upon before implementation.

The outcome of this stage determines whether or not the problem will be solved.

5. Solution Implementation

The next stage after decision making is the solution implementation. Here new challenges may be encountered, requiring adjustment of the generated solution. Hence, solution evaluation may or may not be part of the problem solving process.

Considering the problem solving processes, decision making was one of the most crucial stages. This implies that decision making is a subset of problem solving. Decisions are made when multiple opportunities requiring a course of action present themselves.

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN PROBLEM SOLVING AND DECISION MAKING

In other words, some of the differences between problem solving and decision making are as follows?

  1. Problem-solving can be considered as a method while decision making can be considered a process.
  2. The method of problem-solving is complex and includes deep analysis while the decision-making process leads to taking a final course of action or judgment.
  3. The aim of problem solving is to create the right solutions while decision making is to avoid potential problems.
  4. Problem-solving is generally associated with a clear objective. On the other hand, different types of options are considered while taking decisions.

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR DESICION MAKING AND PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS

Despite the difference, they are both important skills which a lot of people lack. Therefore, below are ways of improving on these important skills.

1. Interact With People

Giving room for interaction with people of different age groups, both online and offline can be a good way to improve problem solving and decision making skills.

Interacting with older people can help you become more mindful and better at planning for the future, while interacting with younger people helps you familiarize with recent trends that may be useful when faced with decision making.

2. Exercise

The fact still remains that many people underrate the importance of exercise. Exercise has a very good effect on the body, both psychological and mentally. It helps the mind and body to relax afterwards.

There are various forms of exercises that can help a person to improve on problem solving and decision making.

Here are a few to consider;

Dancing

As funny as it may sound, if it’s not push-ups, weight lifting and the likes, anything outside these is not considered an exercise. But do you know that dancing is a very healthy form of exercise? Various researches have shown that working out with some tunes has a positive impact on neural processing. This means that if you engage in any form of structured dance, doing so may facilitate convergent thinking. In other words, it may help you find a single, appropriate answer to a problem. A particular author wrote “The combination of music and exercise may stimulate and increase cognitive arousal while helping to organize the cognitive output.” Dancing relaxes the nerves. Those who engage in this exercise are usually high-spirited and this goes in line with a Russian adage that says “in a healthy body is a healthy spirit. ”This implies that as your body becomes more finely honed, your decision-making skills will drastically improve gradually.

Participate in Yoga

Yoga is an exercise I wished I could do more often. There is more to Yoga than just sitting with legs folded in a criss cross manner and hands clamped together in a prayer-like position. While growing up, I always thought people in such positions were praying.

Nevertheless, the powerful combination of body awareness, breathing, and meditation that is required during yoga exercise has been proven to significantly raise cognitive test scores.

However, whichever sports or exercise that feels comfortable, safe and fun for you, do it. This is an awesome way to improve on problem solving and decision making.

3. Ask For Help and Attend Training

Remember, before a problem can be solved, you need to identify the problem. Once you have figured out you have a skills gap that needs to be improved, the next step is to take action to fill that skills gap.

You may either ask for help from more experienced superiors or you opt for training or coaching from those with such skills. Yes, don’t be surprised, just like baking and barbing, problem solving is a skill that encompasses other skills and as such can be learnt too.

You might even attend specialized training for certain skills including active listening or critical thinking.

4. Engage Your Brain with Logic Puzzles or Games

The powers of logic games are as underrated as exercise too. To build up your brain muscle and develop your problem-solving techniques, engage in some logic puzzles and other games.

The winning strategy when playing chess, Sudoku, or other brain-boosting games is actually to work the problem backward, not forward. The same strategy can apply to realistic strategic-thinking situations. I have a lot of people who engage in these games and trust me; their problem solving ability is second to none.

5. Have an “Idea Journal” With You

A journal is used to document thoughts and ideas. As a writer, I can categorically state that keeping a journal has been a life saver on numerous occasions. With a journal always handy, you will be able to quickly record important thoughts, personal experiences, explore ideas or even make sketches. Working out problems by sorting your thoughts on paper and then viewing them more objectively is easier than having all your thoughts stuck in your head. Do this and thank me later.

6. Brainstorming

This is the act of subjecting your brain to think of possible solutions to a problem. Brainstorming can be done by one person or a group of people.

Belonging to a group where we brainstorm on different issues, I will say that this is one approach that has helped me drastically in this aspect. Brainstorming with people especially, helps you to see how other people think and the different techniques they apply on different issues.

7. Read

“Readers are leaders” and to become a delectable leader, you need to improve on your problem solving and decision making skills.

However, reading is one effective ways to achieve that.

One thing you should understand is that there is no unique problem anymore. Be it in an individual’s life or as an organization, whatever challenge you encounter must have been faced by someone else.

As a result of this, lots of very smart people have developed methods and approaches, probably from experience, to help develop problem solving skills and create effective solutions.

Books like “The Art of Thinking Clearly”.

8. Practice

Practice, we say, makes perfect”. Whatever you do always tends to become very easy in the long run. Problem solving as well as decision making, can be practiced just the same way cooking can be practiced.

In this case, practice may not necessarily make perfect but it will certainly make the problem solving process easier. If you are having trouble with critical thinking and decision making, don’t shy away from doing it.

Accept opportunities that will enable you to get involved in problem solving. Try collaborating in other circumstances at work or conduct data analysis on your own projects.  The skills you wish to develop can be done by doing and practicing.

9. Rest

Rest is underrated this is why many people work round the clock without finding a little time to rest. Most people who do not find time to relax are terrible in decision making and problem solving.

A tired, distracted mind can never be in the best position to arrive at a solution to a problem. If rest is not important, why do you think some people take time off from work, or even for vacations to cool off when faced with life changing decisions to make?

Rest is very important and without letting your brain rest, you cannot be at your best.

CONCLUSION

As stated, problem solving and decision making are two different words yet closely related. Leadership roles aside, these skills are very important in the life of every human because on a daily basis we are faced with different choices and opportunities that come with decision making.

It is one thing to make decisions and another thing to make worthwhile decisions. As bad as it may sound, a lot of people are terrible at making great decisions, so also with problem solving.

Moreso, decision making might be an important phase in problem solving but it is important to note that arriving at a decision doesn’t solve a problem. In other words, a great decision doesn’t automatically mean a problem has been solved. A problem is said to be solved if the ideas concluded during decision making are effectively implemented.

If you’re struggling with decision-making and problem solving; be rest assured it can always be improved through some of the ways that have been identified and stated above.

Whatever method you choose, remember that taking action is the only way a result can be achieved. Whether it is by attending training, reading books, exercising, brainstorming, taking a time out to rest, anything it takes to improve on these skills is the way to go.

Problems are meant to be solved not ignored. Decisions are meant to be made too. Stop shying away rom them. I want to believe this article was helpful. Go out there and start making wise decisions today.

Read Also:

  1. Important Things to Know About Higher National Diploma (HND)
  2. Skills Required to Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur
  3. How to Write a Letter of Intent
  4. How to Write a Testimonial Letter
  5. List of Boarding Schools in Gauteng & South Africa
  6. How to Write an Email for a Job Application
  7. Easy Steps on How to Study Effectively
  8.  How to Write Cover Letter as a General Worker
  9.  List of Top Agricultural Courses worth Studying in 2021
  10. Updated Teacher’s Salary in United States
  11. List of 17 Top Careers in Business Studies
  12. List of Top Careers in Demand in the United States
  13. List of Courier Companies in South Africa
  14. List of Best Medical Schools in Kenya
  15. List of Common Barriers Of Communication
  16. How to Pass Matric Examination in South Africa
  17. List of Top 14 Careers in Commerce
  18. The Elements Of Communication 
  19. The Pros and Cons of Homeschooling
  20. Online Jobs That Pay Through Mpesa
  21. List of Top Careers in Acting 
  22. Everything you need to Know about Educational System in South Africa
  23. Diploma in Teaching vs Degree in Teaching
  24. List of Top Careers in Diploma in Law and What to do with it >>>
  25. Traffic Police Qualification & Requirements in South Africa >>>
  26. List of Top Careers in Life Science and Geography
  27. NQF Levels: Everything You need to Know
  28. TVET Colleges: Courses and Requirements
  29. Top 10 Learnership Programs in South Africa
  30. Top 18 Careers in Humanities
  31. How to Become an Insurance Broker In South Africa
  32. List of 13 Highest Paying Jobs in Nigeria
  33. What Can I do With an Arabic Studies Degree?
  34. What Can I do as An Agricultural Engineer
  35. What Can I do With an Anatomy Degree?
  36. What You Can Do With a Computer Science Degree
  37. What to do With a Degree in Adult Education
  38. What Can I Do With An Actuarial Degree?
  39. What Can I Do With a Biology Degree?
  40. What Can I Do With a Psychology Degree?
  41. What To Do With A 2.2 (Second Class Lower) Degree
  42. Gaining Knowledge through the Current Crisis
  43. Things You Must Do To Get Ready To Work at the Office Again
  44. Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs in the World
  45. How to Become A Medical Doctor in the USA
  46. What to do with a Mass Communication Degree
  47. What to Do With Mathematics Degree
  48. Best Teaching Philosophy to Adopt In 2021
  49. 21st Century Skills For Teaching and Learning
  50. Easy Steps on How to Write A Descriptive Essay
  51. Easy Steps on How To Use Google Classroom
  52. Ways to Write a Good University Admission Essay
  53. Pros And Cons Of Cell Phone Usage By Students
  54. How To Fit Into School Routine After A Long Break
  55. Famous Hollywood Actors With No Acting Degree
  56. Steps on How to Deal with Homesickness
  57. Top 10 Cheapest Universities in the UK
  58. How To Apply For Student Loan In Europe
  59. Parents Role in a Student’s Academic Success
  60. The Challenges of Working from Home
  61. 20 Ways to Save Money on Holidays
  62. Why You Should Study a Course You Love
  63. Money-Saving Tips for University and College Students
  64. Tips on How To Get the Best Out of a Boring Job
  65. Reasons Why You Need an Associate Degree
  66. 24 Career Advice That Can Guide You
  67. Why Your Resume Hasn’t Landed You an Interview
  68. Tips on How To Handle Depression
  69. Total Students Living Cost in the UK
  70. Ways of Raising Capital for a Startup Business
  71. Top 14 Work from Home Paying Jobs
  72. Top Profitable Short Courses to Study in 2020
  73. Top 10 Richest Men that Dropped out of College
  74. Top 10 Sellable Medical Courses to Study in 2020
  75. Top 10 Profitable Things To Invest In
  76. Top 10 Careers You can Get Into Without Any Degree
  77. Top 10 Career Mistakes People Make
  78. How to Write your Personal Statement for Grad School
  79. How to Write Personal Statement for Medical School
  80. The Pros and Cons of Online Courses
  81. List Of Medical Schools in France
  82. Money, Happiness and Success
  83. 10 Reasons to Start a Business Before Graduation
  84. Top 10 Cheapest Universities in India
  85. How to Have an Unforgettable University Experience
  86. Top 10 Affordable Universities in the United States
  87. Simple Working Tips on How to Get A First Class Degree
  88. How To Get the University Experience as a Distance Learning Student
  89. How to Become an Architect
  90. How to create a Unique signature
  91. How to Become a Flight Attendant
  92. How To Access Student Loans in the UK
  93. Best Fashion Schools in the World
  94. How to Follow an Academic Writing Style
  95. Difference Between a Diploma in Engineering and Degree in Engineering
  96. 5 Categories of People You will Find in the Workplace
  97. Best Planner App for College
  98. 14 Best Time Management Apps for Students
  99. Proven Exam Tips and Tricks
  100. 18 Easy Tips for Improving in Mathematics
  101. Top 10 Cheapest Universities in China
  102. What Can I Do With a Psychology Degree
  103. How to Get a Canadian Student Visa
  104. Top 10 Lucrative and Marketable Courses to Study
Don’t miss out on current updates, kindly  & follow us on Follow @Eafinder OR


Leonel Schuster
Leonel Schuster

Kathryn has been Teacher at Alliant International University since 2013. He began to write about admission details at Course Discovery.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *