2 Day Problem Solving

Problem Solving Skills – Effective Steps to Eliminating Daily Problems

Today, many employees come to the work environment unprepared to deal with problems. Schools and colleges don’t teach a systematic and rational set of steps that find the root case. Six Sigma Projects are excellent at solving design and large technical problems and is perfect with a team approach. But 86% of the problems a company endures are daily problems that must be eliminated or the effects might become disastrous. And just putting a Band-Aid on the problem to stop the bleeding is not enough. Leadership Initiatives uses a step-by-step process that is easy to use, yet finds the root cause quickly.

Problem solving flow-chart by Steve Reissig, Leadership Initiatives

Leadership Initiatives Problem Solving is a rational, systematic process that is simple to use, fact based process and finds the cause of the problem so it can be eliminated. Discussions include talking about methods that will find possible causes (Fishbone, Mind Mapping, etc), and fixes that can be implemented to either eliminate the root cause, or prepare to contain the effects so the problem does not become transparent. The class also stresses a process that prepares for potential problem elimination (FMEA). Finally, there is a discussion about how to look at methods to Error Proof processes so the chance of a mistake is eliminated before a problem can develop in the first place.

 Our comprehensive method for strengthening organizations consists of four distinct phases:

1) Preparation: Asking participants to bring a problem or two to the class to work on will give them real life usage of the skills taught on their own issues.

2) Installation: Using instructors that have experience in Root Cause Analysis on real life applications.

3) Application: Instructor facilitating with participants working in teams, synergizing learning from each other. Class size is limited to 20 participants for maximum instructor / participant ratio.

4) Maintenance: Providing our clients with ongoing service to ensure objectives and long term results are achieved. Clients have contracted with us to do such work as customizing classes based on their particular needs, to teaching only certain segments to fit a strategic platform.

NOTE – This is not a sit and watch class. Students will be in teams every step of the way learning from each other and synergizing ideas they can use back at their jobs.


The Approach:

The Leadership Initiatives Problem Solving Skills is a true problem elimination process. The process is geared to interlock with all Six Sigma methods, so if a problem needs more support than first thought, our steps can directly roll into a Six Sigma Project Team and the team has useful data to start their project.

Class learning:

Define the Problem / Measurement – The class starts with a discussion about what is a deviation and how it can be found. There is also a discussion about what issues there are with a positive deviation or variance.

Factual Data Gathering – Problems come with lots of data, and sorting out useful data is important. Participants are taught rational questioning skills to uncover the factual data needed so a true root cause fix can be implemented. Sorting and organizing of facts about a problem is key to solving the problem. What makes this process work is that we also gather closely related facts that should be having the same problem, yet for some reason are showing no signs of the deviation. Then the two factual data pairs are used to test possible causes to find the root causes.

Finding Possible Causes – This section starts with looking at the different ways to find possible causes of the problem. Mind maps, Fishbone diagrams and other process are used to find possible causes. The data outcomes are then used to test the causes to find the root cause. Also taught is looking at distinctions of the data pairs, and then from those distinctions, looking for changes.

Analyzing for Root Cause – Once a list of the possible is established, each one is tested with each data pair. If the possible cause makes it through a data pair, it is then put to the next pair and so on until it passes all of the data pairs. If it makes it through all the pairs, it is then confirmed before a fix is planned.

Confirming True Cause – Once a possible cause makes it through the test, the cause is then confirmed by rechecking against the data to make sure a fix will actually work. Using a why-why analysis (also known as the 5 Why Analysis) also confirms just how the problem occurred.

Plan Temporary and Permanent Improvements – A temporary improvement can be installed to make sure the problem is no longer a threat, and used while a permanent fix can be planned and installed. There is discussion about what to do if you cannot fix the root cause, but must live with the consequences of a non-fixed problem.

Installing a Permanent Improvement – If a permanent improvement is needed, it needs to be planned, and executed well. What needs to be done needs to documented, confirmed and finally communicated to those who will implement the improvement.

Confirm Results – Whether the improvement is temporary or permanent, once it is started the results must be confirmed. If the improvement is a good improvement, whatever method the problem was found with, should indicate the problem has been eliminated.

Document and Control – The final step is one of the most overlooked steps, yet it is critical to the process. Completing forms, steps taken and results need to be stored, in-case a duplicate problem exists in another location. Also, ways to control the process so the problem is not seen again is shared.

Eliminating Potential Problems (FMEA) – Sometimes a problem has not surfaced yet, but is lurking in the future. This simple process looks for those potential problems, what would cause the problem, how to prevent it from happening and what to do if the problem actually did arise.

Error Proofing – A talk about what is Error Proofing and how to use it. Sometimes simple solutions can be installed to make sure a process or procedure is always done properly.

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