Tag Archives: solutions

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reporting problems

Reporting Problems, Saving The Drama And Delay

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Show up at the meeting and you’ll hear about the problem. Ask why the project is delayed and you’ll hear about the problem. Reporting problems seems to be the catch all action for buying more time. Is it the right action?

Most projects develop because someone has a problem.

We need to shorten the time from order to ship.

Customers are discovering damaged product because of the packaging. 

Sales are down because we lack essential features. 

Problems come in a lot of sizes, adding a problem to the problem is commonplace. Perhaps not because it is a stall or delay, but because the discovery brings us to additional aspects of the original problem.

When a problem is left unsolved it is usually because of difficulty with the solution. Easy problems are often fixed first. They are the low hanging fruit, the first problems grabbed and solved.

Problem Drama

Reporting problems is really the easiest part.

What if you bring solutions to the meeting instead? Solutions begin to shake out the flow of work. They initiate a frame around what will be done first, and what should be approached next.

Instead of solutions though, people often bring drama.

This problem is huge.

This problem will stop production, cost a lot of money, and start to erode the customer base. 

Often this type of problem reporting starts or ends with the phrase, “Don’t shoot the messenger.”

It is another way of expressing, “I don’t know any solution but this is huge and I can’t wait to see your reaction.”

Reporting Problems

Most people bring problems to the meeting. They seldom bring many solutions.

There are two reasons for this. The first is that the easy problems have already been solved and there is no need for addition discussion. There is seldom drama involved with an already solved problem. It’s over.

The second reason is that it feels easier to ask for help with an unframed problem. The presentation concept is, no one knows the magnitude and we need help.

A different way to report problems at the meeting is to do some of the investigative work first. Answer the questions that you know will be asked. Questions like how will this affect our customers, what is it costing us, and where should we start?

Reporting problems is the easiest part. Solving problems starts with a definition and a frame, otherwise it is mostly just drama and a delay.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten RespectNavigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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good advice

Good Advice or Action Learning

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Advice is available everywhere. There are trouble spots though. Bad advice, advice no one pursues, and advice that is entirely unwanted. Do you have any good advice?

Good Intentions

Most advice has the best intentions. People trying to help other people. A good thing. However, being right, attempting to correct behaviors, or point out where the action went wrong doesn’t always result in positive future performance.

Trying to learn how to ride a bike without training wheels is a learning experience. Shouting from the sidelines about balance, pedaling, or how to steer doesn’t help much. Action by the person learning will make the difference.

The same is often true in workplace roles, attitudes, and how to navigate the C Suite. Offering the right answers, suggestions for a proven path, or how to have a different perspective aren’t guaranteed to spark new behaviors.

Good Advice

A difference for the learner is that discovery often changes the course of action more than advice. Could it be that the best advice is not so much about good advice but more about facilitating discovery?

Action learning, creating the ah-ha moments, and effective use of Socratic questions are likely more responsible for change when compared with the voice of good advice.

Action Learning

Perhaps instead of handing out advice we should grab the sissy bar and push little, stabilize a little, and offer encouragement while the action is taking place.

Advice is easy to find. The best learning often takes place when there is discovery and action.

Next time you set out to give some good advice, consider how you can facilitate discovery of the solution instead of just handing it over. Not because you don’t want to help, but because you do.

Hearing the answer is not as powerful as experiencing the answer.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten RespectNavigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Solving Workforce Problems, Should You Triangulate Your Approach?

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A solution is what most people want. Often our most complex workforce problems go unsolved because if they were easily solved, then they wouldn’t really be a problem would they?

Planning work

Problem solving can be fun, especially when it is just difficult enough to be stimulating but not so challenging that you get frustrated.

Unfortunately sometimes the problems become so difficult that we get frustrated, we might feel like giving up, or we might have to dig deeper to discover additional knowledge or gain additional expertise.

Many of our most challenging problems cannot be solved with a one size fits all approach. We would often like to believe that they can, we often approach them like they can, but then sometimes reality sets in and we come up noticeably short.

One solution might be to triangulate your approach.

Triangulation

The idea of triangulation to solve problems could have several different meanings, but triangulation by definition typically refers to the idea of having two or more pieces of information, and then using that information to calculate the information you are missing. I believe our GPS and navigation systems use this or a similar methodology with satellites and ground position.

How is this idea connected with solving problems in the workplace?

Setting aside design and engineering challenges which likely already involve the use of complex mathematical calculations to solve problems, we might try to combine several known approaches that develop data that would allow us to make more informed choices or predictions for probable outcomes.

By doing this we have the opportunity to validate our information and potentially understand the most probable fix.

How does it work?

Lets assume for a moment that we have a number of choices for determining why employee turnover ratios are high. We could survey employees, we could conduct individual interviews, or we could use focus groups and perhaps many other variations of this type of work to collect data in an attempt to understand solutions for reducing turnover.

In most cases, largely because of time and resources, an organization would choose only one method or a single approach. However, if we would choose two or more well proven approaches (a sort of double check) the information might be considered more valid and reliable.

Doing this means you’ve triangulated your approach with two or more pieces of data that will point to a solution.

Triangulating your approach isn’t the easiest and it doesn’t come with the lowest initial cost, but the long-term benefits could easily overshadow the short-term costs.

What do you think, should you triangulate your approach?

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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