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Professional Excellence IV: Problem-Solving
for Tribal Administrative Professionals:
Becoming Solution-Focused



As a tribal secretary or administrative assistant, every day you face problems that require you to make and implement the right decisions—from catching and fixing scheduling conflicts, to dealing with competing tasks from multiple bosses, to solving last-minute emergencies as they pop up. Bosses don’t want you to come to them with problems — a successful administrative assistant is proactive and solution-focused. This vitally important class will provide you with the strategies you need to quickly and correctly identify problems, get to their root, and tackle them systematically so issues don’t keep cropping up.

If you’ve taken Falmouth Institute’s Professional Excellence I-III series, you’ve already begun to develop the foundations you need to be able to take on some of the most challenging problems tribal administrative professionals face. You learned strategies for communicating effectively and assertively, fostering strong professional networks, and working cohesively as part of a team. In this exciting, hands on class, you’ll further hone and develop these skills as they apply to problem-solving and decision-making, using case studies, exercises, small-group work, and full-class activities that will help you overcome some of the most common obstacles today’s tribal administrative professionals face. If you’ve ever wondered how to solve problems relating to any of the following situations, this class will help you find the right solutions for you:

  • Competing demands from multiple bosses
  • Difficult customers (in person, phone, email, and social media)
  • Team members with different priorities, and team members who can’t (or won’t) do their jobs
  • Ethically compromising situations
  • Last-minute emergencies (travel complications, sudden scheduling conflicts, equipment failure, etc.)
  • Gate-keeping struggles
  • Unreasonable requests?
  • Delegating tasks
  • Lateral and vertical conflict
  • Making the right choice when selecting vendors
  • Making important decisions on the spot
  • Deciding when a problem needs to be brought to your boss’ attention, and when (and how) you should solve it proactively
  • And much more!
T O P I C S   I N C L U D E
ABC’s of Problem-Solving
  • How to apply problem solving steps and tools
  • What is a “problem” anyway?
  • 3 different ways to approach problems
  • How to identify appropriate solutions
Problem Identification
  • Finding the root of the problem
  • 8 essentials to defining the problem
  • Analyzing information to clearly describe problems
  • Classifying different problems
  • Deciding if a problem is worth addressing
  • Setting yourself up to create high-quality solutions
Decision-Making Skills
  • Using the right data
  • Selecting the criteria to base the decision on
  • Looking at it from different angles
  • Conducting the analysis
  • 8 key ingredients for good decision-making
  • Decision-making traps
Problem-Solving Methods and Models
  • Creative and critical thinking methods
  • Using a force field analysis
  • Brainstorming
  • Mind-mapping
  • Evaluating multiple solutions and picking the best one
  • Using graphics
  • Asking the right questions in the right way
Making Decisions in a Group
  • Special considerations for teams and groups
  • The Stepladder Technique
  • The Delphi Technique
  • Nominal Group Technique
  • Avoiding common mistakes
Applying Problem-Solving to Real-World Issues
  • Case studies, small and large group activities, exercises, and role plays:
    • Competing demands from multiple bosses
    • Difficult customers
    • Team members with different priorities
    • Team members who can’t (or won’t) do their jobs
    • Ethically compromising situations
    • Last-minute emergencies
    • Gate-keeping struggles
    • Unreasonable requests
    • Delegating tasks
    • Lateral and vertical conflict
    • Selecting vendors
    • When to bring a problem to your boss’ attention

*Topics subject to change.

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