You Can’t Solve a Problem You Can’t Identify …

Nor can you solve a problem that won’t admit exists. Industry Week recently ran a great article on Surfacing Problems Daily that pointed out a harsh reality: the culture of many organizations dictates that they only face problems that they know how to address.

But if you only face problems you know how to solve, the problems you don’t know how to solve grow and fester … until, someday, they paralyze you. But it doesn’t have to be the case. You can recognize the problem as soon as it becomes apparent. Even if you can’t solve the problem right away, the sooner you begin to address it, the sooner you are likely to come up with a solution.

So what can you do to improve? According to the article, you can:

  1. Assess the Current Condition
    and make sure you know what to do when you see a problem.
  2. Develop a Mechanism
    to insure that the problem is properly recorded and tracked.
  3. Establish Non-Monetary Incentives to Surface Problems
    to insure that they are identified and recorded.
  4. Define How Leaders Should Respond
    since workers will not surface, track, or even acknowkledge problems if the leaders don’t support the initiative.

And make sure that you understand the nature of problems … as old ones get solved, new ones surface. It’s a never ending cycle.