How To Solve Your Clients Problems

Simply stated, a problem is an obstacle that lies in the way and prevents you from accomplishing your goal.  It is the duty and responsibility of consultants to solve their clients’ problems to the satisfaction of the clients.  Bear in mind that not all problems are equal.  Some are relatively simple and straight forward; others are more difficult and complex.  Remember also, that not all problems can be solved, and sometimes, the cost of solving a problem outweighs the benefits.  But whatever the nature of the problem, there are some steps that you can follow to solve your clients’ problems   

Identify the Problem

The first step in solving a problem is to identify it.  This process is easier said than done.  Often, the real problem is masked by something else.  For example, let’s assume that a supervisor asked an employee to perform a certain task.  For whatever reason, the task was not performed satisfactorily.  Thereupon, the supervisor concluded that she had a training problem and recommended that the employee be sent for training.  It could be that the problem was not at all a training problem, but a motivational problem.  Perhaps the less than satisfactory performance of the worker was due to a lack of motivation related to low pay, poor working conditions, lack of recognition, etc.     

Study the Problem

Once the problem has been identified, the next step is to study it.  Try to find answers to questions such as: Does it require immediate attention?  How long has the problem existed?  Are there sufficient resources to effect a solution?  Can the problem be contained?  What other problems are being caused by this particular problem?  Once you have the answers to these questions, you can move to the next step.

Establish and/or Highlight What You Want to Accomplish

Specify precisely what you want to accomplish.  In other words, what is your goal?  How will solving this problem contribute to the attainment of your goal?  If the existence of this problem does not prevent you from accomplishing your goal, then maybe you should reconsider whether the problem is real or imagined.

Investigate the Causes of the Problem

Armed with the results of your study of the problem and with your established goal, you are now ready to proceed to the next step, which is to investigate the root cause or causes of the problem.  The root causes of the problem may require more than a cursory look.  It may require a serious look below the surface.  Try to authenticate the real causes.

Develop a “To-Do” List  

A “To-Do” list is a kind of action plan to guide you throughout the process of solving the problem.  Consider the actions you need to take to address the problem.  How are the required resources to be mobilized?  Assign responsibility, and establish realistic timelines for completion.  

Implement the Plan—Do what’s on Your “To-Do” List

The implementation of the action plan essentially constitutes solving the problem.  This process must be properly managed to ensure that all aspects of the plan are completed in the specified time frame.   

Examine the Outcome

The final step in the problem-solving process is to evaluate the results of your intervention.  Compare the situation before your intervention with the situation after your intervention.  What are you now seeing?  Has the problem been solved to your satisfaction or are there adjustment to be made?


When a client calls upon a consultant to solve a problem, it is reasonable to assume that the client has certain expectations.  If those expectations are met, the client will be satisfied.  However, if the work of the consultant surpasses the expectations of the client, then the consultant’s intervention may be seen as truly exceptional.  We hope that you will benefit from the points raised in this article.  Let us, as consultants, continue to offer exceptional services to our clients. 

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