They may have a head for numbers, but that might not be what the members of your finance teams enjoy most about their jobs.
What likely gives them the most satisfaction? Problem solving.
That’s what topped more than 2,600 accounting and finance professionals’ list in a recent survey from Robert Half International.
Two in five (41%) folks said they enjoy solving problems most, while 22% picked working with numbers.
Fortunately, there’s no shortage of problems to be tackled by most finance departments.
4 steps to better problem solving
Of course, that doesn’t mean you should just toss out a problem and tell your team to have at it. There are specific ways to develop problem solving skills to make the solvers more efficient and effective.
The folks at Lifehack have a few suggestions that you might consider adopting with your own Finance department:
- Focus on the solution, rather than the problem. It’s science at work here – neuroscientists assert that you’ll never hit upon a solution if you’re focusing on the problem. The reason: The problem is a negative and looking at that blocks the creativity needed to hit upon solutions. Rather than focusing on what’s wrong with your current process, have staffers devote attention to what the answers could be.
- Keep an open mind. This is one that you as the boss have a lot of control over. Make sure your team members understand that no idea is a bad idea. Develop that mindset and staffers won’t be self-censoring and possibly discarding the germ of a great solution.
- Don’t judge the problem. A “problem” is a bad thing, right? Instead, try to get your people to think of it simply as something not working its best. That will help eliminate the negative mindset that blocks creativity. For example, get Payroll staffers to see those direct deposit holdouts as an opportunity to convert them rather than a problem holding up their process.
- Think laterally. Sometimes people get so bogged down in the way they think a problem should be solved, that they can’t make any progress. Urge your team to turn their thinking on its head now and then. Look for a solution that’s the polar opposite of what you had been considering. Sometimes that strategy brings the freshest new ideas.
And as always, every finance department – and staffer – is different. Some may not get satisfaction from problem solving. Consider using the Robert Half survey as a springboard to find out what your own team members like most about their jobs.
Info: For more on the Robert Half survey, click http://rh-us.mediaroom.com/2015-03-18-Math-Wizards-Or-Problem-Solvers-New-Survey-Shows-Accountants-Prefer-Tackling-Problems-Over-Crunching-Numbers and for more problem solving ideas from Lifehack, click www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/6-ways-to-enhance-your-problem-solving-skills.html