I recently discussed the results of applying problem solving, giving reader three ways to start solving problems. The global effects of systematically applying a problem-solving methodology are exciting to consider. Solutions to problems lead to improvement in the process: improvements in safety and quality, gains in effectiveness, efficiency, and ultimately cost. The people in the process – especially if involved in problem-solving – enjoy the fruit of less hassle in the process, developing a sense of worth as the responsibility for solving problems shifts from “they” to us. As the organization learns the effect of the improvement, adaptations to the improvement can be deliberately spread throughout the organization, lifting the total effect exponentially. As the improvement spreads and a sense of engagement increases, innovation – new ways to do things – begin to take shape. Using the same methodology – analyzing the problem and conceiving solutions – leads to first frontline micro-innovations then to innovations in products and services. Improvement, innovation, and engagement begin to stack up and opportunities for growth – sustainable growth from within – appear.
None of the exciting effects of problem solving will take root unless the problem-solving method is continuous. To see sustained gains, the problem-solving method must be “on” all day, every day.0