07. Jan. 2016

Problem solving – a solid team is worth more than a great talent

by Kaizen Institute UK

How many times do we watch football matches that play millionaire teams, filled with celebrity players and great talents against seemingly poorer opponents – only to watch David defeat Goliath? The result makes us remember that organization and team work are stronger than individual talent.

 

In the business world, just as in sports, success increasingly relies on the spirit and ability of teams, as well as how they can simplify and solve problems. The industry demands cunning professionals to solve problems as well as managers who are able to coach them almost in the same way as football coaches lead their teams – by strategizing, guiding and organising their teams to lead them to success.

 

Only that kind of training will create solid teams, made up of professionals who are able to stand up to setbacks with enough skill to detect the root of a problem, showing a proactive, standardised and systematic attitude to face difficulties and avoid their relapse. The absence of a true company culture focused on problem solving has harmful consequences. For starters, employees have to deal with situations that they are not ready for, which causes a great amount of stress. An organisation’s performance also suffers because not being prepared to solve problems leads to double the work, breaks and ruptures, blockage of resources and high volume of stock.

 

The first step is to recognize the importance of finding the root causes of any problem, understand what failed and – only after that – start proposing solutions and defining improvement measures.

 

In order to increase knowledge and the problem solving abilities of teams – from operational areas to support departments – it is important to enable professionals to critically observe their areas, methods, products and services to find root causes for problems, develop improvement solutions and create innovative ideas.

 

There are interesting solutions for visually managing problems that arise. For example, implementing a “Problem Board” where each problem matches a post-it and is linked to its respective status: “To solve”, “Solving in course”, “Solved and awaiting confirmation”. Another example is the method of adopting red tags to identify tools and objects that aren’t in working conditions or that seem to be unnecessary. Methods like these help turn mishaps into opportunities for process and improvement of the quality and standard of service.

 

#Problems:

  • Recurring problems are not analysed
  • Solutions are defined without analysing root causes of problems
  • No team dynamic to analyse problems
  • High costs: double the work, breaks in productivity, stock ruptures and, ultimately, loss of clients due to inefficient product/service
  • Resource blockage: employees use up a lot of time trying to solve problems
  • High stock volume resulting from the absence of trust in current processes

 

#Solutions:

  • Enabling teams to observe their areas, methods, products and services critically, developing improvement solutions or creating innovative ideas
  • Adopting quality tools that help create the habit of talking about data, forsaking decision-making based on hunches
  • Visual management of problems being analysed
  • Systematic work for problem solving, from identifying root causes
  • Creating debate moments for suggestions of improvement

 

#Benefits:

  • Improvement of the quality and standard of service
  • Cost reduction
  • Process improvement culture based on a proactive posture for problem solving
  • Employee motivation

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