Imagine walking into your workplace and finding that everything is running smoothly. There have never been fewer issues. All of the procedures that make it function are being carried out error-free and with no problems. Not only that, since every employee has played an active part in making this happen, each one is eager to do their part in making and keeping their company successful.
Does this seem realistic? Maybe not, but achieving a problem-free workplace can be easier than you think.
The problem with problems is that there are too many of them. The problem with problem resolution is that there are few truly effective problem-solving methods and not enough people who know how to resolve problems successfully.
With all of the effort applied to resolving problems, why are positive results not achieved? There are three main reasons:
- A problem resolution process that includes prioritizing is not being used.
- Everyone has their own ideas of how to resolve problems.
- The people performing the job (including management) are not trained and included in the problem-solving process.
The key to dealing with #1 is to prioritize every step in whatever problem-solving program is chosen. The result of prioritization is a focused process that takes a shorter time to complete with a predictable and measurable outcome. The team will also always know that they are working on the most important things first.
Getting everyone to learn and use an effective problem-solving process will result in teams working together on the same thing at all times and will resolve #2. In order to make this happen and to make #3 happen it is imperative that everyone be trained in problem-solving. Once trained, solving problems should be a team effort, preferably led by a skilled facilitator.
The result of resolving these three issues will be effective teams of people skilled in solving problems quickly and effectively. Additional benefits will be increased morale with teams knowing that they have truly made a significant contribution to their company.
About the Author
Steve Royal is a former Eastman Kodak film manufacturing development chemist, manager, trainer, and Quality Improvement Facilitator (QIF). After retiring from Kodak, he started his consulting business, focusing on mistake-proofing and prioritized problem-solving. You can reach Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the Royal Associates website at www.smartproblemsolving.com.