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Not using effective problem solving strategies to identify, contain and eliminate the root causes has a massive and detrimental impact on business performance and stability, and ultimately seriously jeopardises the business’ competitiveness and existence.In business, errors are made; issues arise, so how do you know what problem to deal with amongst the mountain of problems that may exist. What problem strategies are there to help diagnose and eliminate the causes amongst the myriad of issues?This, in turn, creates the overall feeling of being unappreciated. I needed to think about things not in terms of their emotional impact on me and the Operate Team, but rather in terms of X causes Y.
I am a technology project manager for a major financial-services company (Maj Fin).
I’d like to share how I took the concept of “strategy as problem solving” and applied it to my own organization’s strategic problems.
It is dedicated to supporting the production environment, the large and complex computer systems that run the day-to-day business.
The Operate team tends to be dissatisfied with the work they deliver.
Naturally, I saw the highest strategic priority being “value added.” But, as I looked deeper, I saw that there was a “strategy story” that with the flow of elements as shown in this graphic.
I began to grasp the issue: our opaqueness (the work being performed is both unseen and poorly understood) was creating a reactive organizational response and behavior.The better performing companies have also found ways to get better at what they do – continuously. This cost adds up, and up, and up in the form of dollars, euros, Pounds that can, and does affect your company’s ability to remain profitable… Remember, the only thing that eventually kills a business is having no cash!Some companies believe that scrap, waste and defects are just the cost of being in business. The Japanese call the art of problem solving strategies as Jidoka.Simply put, one must find the biggest impact, either by number of times the issue arises or the financial impact it has on the business, or any other scoring method.Then it is a case of focusing the problem solving effort on this issue until it is resolved.The key lesson: Understand the linkages between visible symptoms and root causes.While I want to move to “value added” as quickly as possible, it became clear that I need to focus on the leading indicators.Plain and simply; it is the method of spotting problems as they arise in the work place, stopping, analysing and spending time to resolve that issue so it doesn’t happen again.This involves a continuous improvement culture, which takes time and great leadership.As I endeavored to take a strategic perspective, I found my question keying on this challenge: how do we create a strategy that both identifies the critical problems to be solved and creates a strategic journey to solving them?I came to see this in the following terms: Critical Problems to be Solved In Maj Fin, we have a large group that we call the Operate Team.