The Core Activity of Continuous Improvement Every Team Member Should Know
Although a “problem solving” series is for those with broken systems, flawed processes or team failures, it is also for you. Unless your team is doing 100% of their job, 100% right, 100% of the time, then you have a problem to solve.
You can’t solve a problem without first knowing what your problem is. That’s why the first step in problem solving is defining the problem.
Once you know you have a problem, and have documented your symptoms, it’s time to get an idea of how complex your problem really is by determining the root cause.
By this time, you know that you have a problem, and you’ve done extensive fact finding to discover the root cause. Now, it’s time to generate solution ideas. Our goal here is to get as many possible solutions ideas, from as many varying perspectives, as possible. Notice that the goal here is NOT to choose a solution. That’s our next step. We are simply gathering ideas during this phase.
Now that you have a list of solutions, it’s time to narrow down those solutions to the one that you will implement. In order to do that, we must determine the solution that is most effective to solve the specific problem you are focusing on.
You have a solution idea. Now, you have to implement that solution. This could be something that is a quick process adjustment. This might mean three years of transition to get new equipment. It might mean a personnel shift. No matter what your solution is, you have to create an action plan. In doing that, you must also determine exactly who needs to be involved and exactly who will be impacted.
This is our final step in problem solving. By now you have assessed the problem, you’ve chosen your best solution and you have implemented that idea. The last thing you need to do is monitor the resolution.