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Having good, strong problem solving skills can make a huge difference to your career.
At this stage, it's also important to ensure that you look at the issue from a variety of perspectives.
If you commit yourself too early, you can end up with a problem statement that's really a solution instead.
The key to a good problem definition is ensuring that you deal with the real problem – not its symptoms.
For example, if performance in your department is substandard, you might think the problem is with the individuals submitting work.
When your problem is simple, the solution is usually obvious, and you don't need to follow the four steps we outlined earlier.
So it follows that when you're taking this more formal approach, your problem is likely to be complex and difficult to understand, because there's a web of interrelated issues.
The articles in this section of Mind Tools therefore focus on helping you make a success of the first of these steps – defining the problem.
A very significant part of this involves making sense of the complex situation in which the problem occurs, so that you can pinpoint exactly what the problem is.
Whether you're solving a problem for a client (internal or external), supporting those who are solving problems, or discovering new problems to solve, the problems you face can be large or small, simple or complex, and easy or difficult.
A fundamental part of every manager's role is finding ways to solve them.