I get asked this question quite often and feel there is no trouble in sharing one of my top “secrets” to successful problem solving. My answer is this:
“Challenge every assumption!”
Without a doubt the most common oversight I see is that people that are tasked with solving problems in organizations believe that the employees are following well-defined standards and/or best practices. I listen for trigger words like “always” and “never”. “We always do it this way”, or “we never do that”. I guarantee there is some departure from these absolute statements.
So I say this: If you have a problem, be sure the problem statement and defect (the problem) is well defined. Understand and map the process, review the standard work, and go see for yourself if the process is being followed. You might be surprised.
I’ll talk a little more about standards next time. Thanks for reading!
First published in the Pittsburgh Business Times