What Is Systematic Problem Solving

What Is Systematic Problem Solving-6
In my 30 odd years of being in organisations continually needing to solve problems effectively, including a good few years at Toyota, I have learned the psychology of “solving problems” and it is almost 180 degrees away from how most people look at and attack problem solving.

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Does this mean you should go out and implement morning market’s everywhere? That doesn’t work any more than attaching kanban cards to all of your parts and calling it a pull system.

It is not about the white boards, it is not even about reviewing the problems every day. In in the Big Company that implemented morning markets everywhere, that is what happened – they morphed into another format for the Same Old Stuff.

That is certainly true by the time you read it here as I try to filter things.

But consider this: The key difference with Toyota’s approach that Steven Spear pointed out in “Decoding the DNA of the Toyota Production System” (as well as his Ph D dissertation) was that the application of rules of flow whenever there was a gap between expected and actual process or expected and actual outcome.

Here are some of the things my example organization did that I think contributed to success in their cultural shift.

By blocking out time, they were able to establish some kind of expectation for productivity.This was the start of establishing a form of standard work for the problem solvers.Problem solving models are used to address the many challenges that arise in the workplace.The left side of the brain is logical, analytical, but also much slower in its thinking speed, it makes connections and relationships with data, but this takes time. We don’t want to be slowed down by logical left brain thinking that takes time to analyse and investigate the unknown variables around the phenomena of the “problem” or situation.Because of our fast thinking right brain, creating pictures and images of the solution, there is an instinctive drive to find a solution quickly (this also leads to us thinking we are experts because we can find solutions quickly….. This slowing down of thinking and analysis takes practice and repeated coaching / mentoring that does not accept a next step or progressing towards a potential solution, without someone fully comprehending the previous learning step of how the system is working.Problems will always happen when we don’t understand how a system works nor the variables that cause a process or procedure to fail.Real problem solving happened when we focus our attention onto learning about the problem and how it works, so that we understand it to the point of truly discovering the root cause. I can honestly say that I love problem learning, I love the idea of problems and finding out how they work.This is a simplistic way of looking at problems, some people get this but many don’t.They think it is just a management speak for learning to be happy solving problems.The best way to approach this with a problem solving team, is to NEVER accept any solution without the evidence and deductive reasoning that the root cause has been proven.Most people are not in problem understanding mode when they are trying to fix something they are in what I call Troubleshooting mode, trying out solutions until they find one that seems to fit.

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    In order to become a systematic problem solver it is better to adopt the following five-step problem-solving process. 1. Identify the problem. This is critical you must try to solve the right problem.…

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