Problem Solving

Problem Solving

For Problem Solving success – Have a Bias for Action!

Very often I see clients who are struggling to get any traction going when it comes to problem solving and making those needed small improvements in their business.

When it comes to problem solving, many business owners and executives get stuck in the details. They form committees with 20 members, have meetings and ponder what to do without ever taking action.

So how do you get going very early on with problem solving and your lean journey?

The first step is to go out there, find a small problem and work on it. The second is to focus on employees and how solving that problem will improve morale and productivity.

Sometimes, it’s necessary to throw out a propensity for planning, organizational chain of command and policies and procedures, and the tendency to involve too many people, and develop a bias for action. In essence, “just do it” – act without excessive analysis and go make things happen.

Clients often say they struggle to get a plan in action, but it doesn’t have to be that difficult. Maybe it’s a problem on the floor, a part keeps falling on the floor or a container is too difficult for a team member to pick up.

The second step in problem solving is to focus on people and engage those same team members in the solution. A big part of this is you have to get people and team members involved in the process. They have problems every single day, whether it’s quality issues and reworking something, or something’s too heavy to pick up or they are walking too far for parts. Whatever those issues are, those specific problems they are dealing with on a day-to-day basis that make their job more difficult, that’s the place to start.

Many business owners ignore them, which leads to frustration and reduced productivity on the part of employees. So addressing these small problems has a twofold benefit. It gets team members involved and excited and gives them some ownership in their jobs and those improvements help you from a business standpoint as well. If it’s easier for employees because they are walking less, they have the right tools or they don’t have to rework something, it ultimately impacts efficiency and the bottom line.

You’re not only affecting the business, you’re helping the team members and overall you’re starting to create that problem-solving culture when you take that bias for action.

Ninety percent of lean journeys stop because they never got started. Clients never grabbed something small and tangible where they could go out there and make a small improvement.

Get out there and work on it. It may be the smallest problem, but make a commitment to make some change today.

Jason Burt

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