What Process Do You Follow In Solving Problems

  As circumstances would have it, this was the first shipment to a new client that was “testing” our new products in 200 stores with an opportunity to expand our distribution to over 2500 stores nationally.  Instead of panicking, we took a problem solving approach that involved multiple steps and resulted in a full-blown change management effort with our label supplier, manufacturer, trucking company and client.

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Organizational silos are the root cause of most workplace problems and are why many of them never get resolved.

This is why today’s new workplace must embrace an entrepreneurial spirit where employees can freely navigate and cross-collaborate to connect the problem solving dots; where everyone can be a passionate explorer who knows their own workplace dot and its intersections.

Effective communication towards problem solving happens because of a leader’s ability to facilitate an open dialogue between people who trust her intentions and feel that they are in a safe environment to share why they believe the problem happened as well as specific solutions.

Once all voices have been heard and all points of view accounted for, the leader (with her team) can collectively map-out a path toward a viable and sustainable solution.

But the reality of the workplace   finds us dealing with people that complicate matters with their corporate politicking, self-promotion, power-plays and ploys, and envy.

Silos, lack of budgets and resources, and many other random acts or circumstances also make it harder for people to be productive.Competitors equally create problems for us when they unexpectedly convert a long-standing client, establish a new industry relationship, or launch a new product, brand or corporate strategy.   Mergers & acquisitions keep us on our toes and further distract us from solving existing problems by creating new ones.1.  Transparent Communication Problem solving requires transparent communication where everyone’s concerns and points of view are freely expressed.I’ve seen one too many times how difficult it is to get to the root of the matter in a timely manner when people do not speak-up. That is why when those involved in the problem would rather not express themselves – fearing they may threaten their job and/or expose their own or someone else’s wrong-doing – the problem solving process becomes a treasure hunt.As Karl Popper, one of the most influential 20 century philosophers of science, once eloquently stated, “All life is problem solving.” I’ve often contended that the best leaders are the best problem solvers.They have the patience to step back and see the problem at-hand through broadened observation; circular vision.  Rather than viewing this problem simply as a hurdle that could potentially lose us the client, we took proactive measures (and a financial investment) to show our new client that we were capable of not only solving the problem – but earning their trust by responding promptly and efficiently  with a comprehensive step-by-step incident report that included our change management efforts.This experience taught us many lessons about our company and helped us to avoid many unforeseen problems.As such, they never see the totality of what the problem represents; that it can actually serve as an enabler to improve existing best practices, protocols and standard operating procedures for growing and competing in the marketplace.They never realize that, in the end, all problems are the same – just packaged differently.

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