3 Steps to Collaboratively Problem Solve in 2019

posted by Administrator on 01/14/2019 in Blog Posts  | Tagged ,

Traditionally, problem-solving falls to the role of the CEO, as the leader of the organization, if not also to the department heads and executive teams. However, when you study the strategies used by Fortune 100 companies, it becomes clearer that problem-solving must be done collaboratively and at all levels.

Here are the 3 steps to work together as a company to address problems and find innovative solutions through the rest of the year.

  1. Don’t overlook the small problems. Too often in business, “small” problems are often overlooked or attributed to uncontrollable human error. However, this can be one of the fastest ways to allow inefficiency to creep in. What may be a small problem now, can easily escalate to a larger operation-ending problem later, as your business grows. So, the first step to being both more proactive and collaborative in your problem-solving approach is to not ignore these small issues. Instead, ask all departments to keep a running list of problems or challenges they face and track how often these occur. At least once a month, have a meeting to review the issues and begin to start crafting solutions to resolve them as quickly as possible.
  2. Identify the root cause of each problem. Having strategic teams that are comprised of members of each department can be an effective way to both gather different perspectives but is also essential in understanding the many facets of each problem. All too often, only one department is involved in examining the root cause of the problem. For example, for glitches with online ordering, the IT department may be the only ones involved, instead of having an inter-departmental approach that involves including members of the marketing, customer service, and/or operations teams. By opening up the number of people involved in identifying the root cause, this not only enables you to get a much clearer company-wide view of how an issue can spread, but it also gives you an improved ability to brainstorm a wider variety of solutions.
  3. Brainstorm as many creative solutions as possible. When it comes to addressing problems, do not limit the types and scope of the solutions you consider. All too often, teams get stuck evaluating every single solution, instead of investing time and energy to brainstorm first, and then evaluate later. You do not want to inhibit the problem-solving process by over-criticizing each potential solution. Instead, encourage your teams to have an open-ended brainstorming approach. You may find that though you do not use some of the solutions you generate, they may become viable options later on, if the problem arises again.

Taking a collaborative approach can be one of the most effective ways to stay ahead of the competition. By encouraging all of your employees to take an active role, you will be able to generate more ownership and create an environment of shared action. For more ways to increase your productivity and craft winning strategies to carve out a competitive advantage, we invite you to follow our blog here.