Organizational Performance Part 30: Struggles with Effective Problem Solving | Operational Excellence Quick Hits
Quick Hits share weekly tips and techniques on topics related to Operational Excellence. This week’s theme relates to ineffective problem solving. We hope you enjoy the information presented!
Speaker 2: (00:08)
In this week session, we’re going to talk about the problem solving process and why companies struggle with effective problem solving. So I did a recent poll in LinkedIn to ask why companies struggle with problem solving. And I put three categories incorrectly defining the problem, not sufficient time to do problem solving, skipping steps in the problem solving process. And I allowed people to post comments and reasons why they think companies struggle with problem solving. So based on that, our results were 50% of the people said that the issue was incorrectly defining the problem. 14% said not sufficient time. 26% said skipping steps in the process and 10% were from other posts that people commented. So what I did is I wanted to get information from people so I can start actually doing a problem solving process on why companies struggle with problem solving. So of course the first step in the problem solving process is to assess the current situation.
Speaker 2: (01:12)
So I’ve gone into many organizations where they struggle with doing problem solving. So I’ve seen all types of different effects from that. So a lot of it is dealing with the same issues over and over and over. I call it Groundhog’s Day, where you wake up and it’s the same problems over and over and over. I have done a lot of assessment on the current situation. So I define the problem as companies struggle with effective problem solving. So the next step into the process is to identify the primary causes. So actually the audience helped me develop what are some of these primary causes. And so I put that into a cause and effect diagram. Our problem statement, our cause and effect diagram goes here, organizations struggle with effective problem solving. So what are some of the things that I saw from the poll? One, lack of understanding of how the issue relates to the overall organization.
Speaker 2: (02:09)
So that contributes to effective problem solving. Two, lack of sufficient problem solving training. So people aren’t trained properly in how to do problem solving. Incorrectly, defining the problem, skipping steps in the problem solving process, making decisions on opinions and not facts, dealing with the symptoms of the problem and not the actual problem, lack of a documented problem solving methodology, problem solving process not repeatable. The next category under measurement, incorrect problem solving related measurements and lack of sufficient data on the problem itself. Also, lack of timely decision-making, also not sufficient time to work on problem solving, and pressure to get the process up and running. And lastly, treating all problems with the same priority. So of course, I see all these effects in companies. So the next step in the problem solving processes is to narrow it down to the critical few. So which of these contributing factors are creating the problem of people not being able to do effective problem solving?
Speaker 2: (03:29)
And again, I’ve seen all of these. I’ve seen lack of focus, so they have all problems are created equal, and they treat them like that. And we know that all problems aren’t created equal. Problems have different priority based on the overall organization and the organizational goals. I’ve seen skipping steps in the process. I’ve seen incorrectly defining the problem. I’ve seen lack of a methodology. I’ve seen problems done with multiple groups and getting different answers to the root cause of the same problem. I’ve seen measurements that drive the wrong behavior of like, oh, we just need to check the box and we have so many corrective actions we need to have completed this month. I’ve seen making decisions based on opinions, not facts and not having sufficient data to drive the problem.
Speaker 2: (04:20)
So based on this, we want to narrow it down to the critical few. So if we watch this video, I’d like people to comment on which of these factors do you think are most contributing to the problem? And then next week I will take that and I will start doing a five why analysis using the highest vote, getting contributing factor. So appreciate everyone responding to the poll, gave me a great information to develop this cause and effect diagram. And next week, we’ll talk about the next step of the analysis using five why.