In last week’s post, we discussed the importance of business leaders committing resources to training and development for quick action problem-solving. We explored the idea that all managers should be able to respond in a timely and reliable manner when problems arise, whether the issue is anticipated or is the result of unforeseeable occurrences.
But how do you teach problem solving? How do you learn it?
Principles of problem solving
First, training and development personnel must be involved in the decision-making process even if they lack specific technical expertise on the subject. Key personnel should design problem-solving learning experiences that will help teach managers how to quickly assess and describe issues using crisp, clear verbiage. They also need to develop courses of action that will encourage commitment and allow leaders to act out proposed solutions.
To be successful, problem solving must emphasize rationality. Certain basic assumptions are helpful in bringing about strong and lasting results, not only from the practical standpoint of achieving work efficiency and effectiveness, but also in terms of the quality of human relationships.
Below are some things to keep in mind when setting up problem-solving structures within your organization:
- Problems, when initially stated, are usually inaccurate because people have a tendency to start by describing situations or symptoms. Total effort must be made to correctly and carefully state the objective that needs to be accomplished.
- Inquiry is an indispensable tool in problem identification. Each person must feel free to question in an atmosphere that is free of implicit reprisal. Every employee should have an opportunity to openly express what he or she knows about a problem, to feel comfortable being questioned, to be able to respond fully to questions, and to ask questions themselves.
- Those who are involved in or affected by a problem should be invited to participate in its resolution.
- To encourage self-actualization as well as spontaneous and uncontrived participant responses when examining a problem, you must ensure that a spirit of friendship, courtesy and ethical behavior prevails.
- Recognize that each participant is equally important to the solution. Whether the problem affects certain employees to a greater or lesser degree is singularly unimportant.
Up Next Week… The Jury Technique Part 3: Implementing the Technique