Thursday, July 21, 2016

Problem-Solving Model Assumptions

Problem-Solving Model Assumptions

Our Problem-Solving Model in my previous post assumes that problem solving is a process, not a momentary event.  The complete problem-solving process is often one of discovery and trial-and-error.  One cycle may not solve the problem.  Solving a problem may take 2 or 3 times through the steps before the actual causes are fully understood, identified and eliminated.  This is why it is important to complete the whole cycle for every problem.

Developing the discipline to follow the sequence of steps will enable teams to solve persistent problems as well as make continuous performance improvements.

Points to Keep in Mind Regarding the Problem-Solving Model 
  1. If you don't take time to define the problem, you may end up solving the wrong problem.
  2. It is extremely important to sort causes from symptoms and also sort secondary causes from primary causes.  It is only when the primary cause is identified and eliminated that the problem will disappear.
  3. There is a strong temptation to choose the first solution that looks like it might solve a problem.  If you don't explore several alternatives, though, it is unlikely that you will find the "best" alternative for your situation.
  4. Even if you have defined the problem correctly, identified the root cause(s), and selected a good solution, if you don't plan the implementation of the solution, nothing will change.
  5. The importance of evaluation and follow-up is often overlooked or underestimated.  Due to the cyclical and trial-and-error nature of problem solving, you often don't know that a problem has not been solved until evaluation and follow-up has been done.
Until next time...

Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

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