Every Problem is an Investment Opportunity - Lean Thinking

There are times we don’t feel good to deal the fact that we have problems. In organizations, there is no end of problems and many of us respond negatively to issues when they overwhelm us.

You are about to finish your work, and unexpectedly your computer shuts down, you are not sure whether you have saved some portion of work or you lost all data. This can make you feel like wastage of time and effort. But You should not forget, you always face some obstacles in accomplishing your work. For example, sometimes you aren't able to finish because of distractions or you don’t have enough information or you don’t have a helping hand.

Problems are something ought to happen -- only the depth varies. The “Toyota Way Fieldbook” categories issue into Large, Medium and small. However it may, learning to accept problems as natural, inevitable will make you clear about your own blind spots and opportunities of learning. But many leaders fail to develop this kind of effective process for capturing opportunity from all three categories. The reason is the ignorance and the overestimation of skills. Quite often the small category is overlooked entirely because the opportunities are viewed as insignificant. Meanwhile, the medium and large categories are not fully explored due to the lack of skilled, qualified and trained people.

In organizations, the growth is primarily halted by the management because of the traditional thinking that instructs--

  1. The process should be management-directed and management-controlled.
  2. Only management and specific higher executives can bring change.
  3. Leaders are only responsible for the change. If it doesn’t happen then they are to be blamed for this.
  4. The members of a team don’t bear any responsibility for issues, they can only wait for management to solve this.
  5. Individual efforts are not encouraged. Because there is no structure exist to support them.
  6. Management fears the loss of control, so there’s no consideration of advocating Self-empowerment in people.
  7. Many organizations don’t view problems as the opportunity initiatives but as failures.
  8. Many leaders don’t get the courage to own the problems. So they hide rather than addressing it to everyone.

How to leverage your Organization from such situations?

Every Problem is an Investment Opportunity - Lean ThinkingPower of Teaching and Mentoring:

A positive environment for learning is always needed for success. Providing the learning and coaching liberties should be an important part of the organizational culture. Because this is the most refined way to make people understand the value, attitude and belief that reflects the goals of your organization.

So, it is a wise decision to teach people new skills and practices. The change can be uncomfortable but encourage them to use the newly introduced process daily and build a combined effort by solving frequent, small problems and doing continuous improvements.

Focusing on Efforts and Resources:

Organizing resource and maintaining their sustainable usability are the key points of organizational development. Thus, putting more focus on the resources can multiply the results. Build a problem-solving process that allows people to focus on most significant items. Even if you’re to put the smaller amount of efforts, you will have the sure chances of solving the issues. Because people are able to focus more on smaller items which they have control over. In this way, small focused efforts can produce greater results by attacking the larger opportunities.           

Understanding what it means to improve continuously:    

Continuous improvement symbolizes the longevity of the newly introduced process. Because it seems all muddled until your people truly understood the idea --  e.g. a never ending cycle. There are myths exist in this context:-

Myth 1. Improvements are to be made under certain situations or conditions. So, when the "so-called" right time passes, people stop giving attention to improvements.

Myth 2. Why we need to improve the process that has the span of a mere six months or less than a year.. Think again, is it the right way to do things?? You may not know, the small problems that you’re hesitated to improve may come again carrying larger strains in future. What will you do then? Will you able ignore it again?

Myth 3. Facilitation of the continuous improvement cycle is not necessary for all levels by all individuals. Reminder: Organization is all about people having collective responsibility, thus leading to a collective growth and a compelling shared vision.    

Myth 4. Everyone can’t be a problem solver. Problem solving needs skilled people, but that doesn’t mean it is specific to some people. Learning is an act of showing eagerness. If you strongly desire, you absolutely can learn anything. So, the leaders need to figure out the way to flow the learning process across the organization and help people in solving complex queries.

A leader should know how to tell the Story that Solves the Problem:

Every problem-solving process is a story with a proper introduction, character development, climax and a conclusion. Sometimes twists and turns; hints of the upcoming parts; little struggle to understand. The completion of one step takes you to the next and the flow doesn’t break in the middle. Each part needs the equal attention to find the connection from one part to another and do a root cause analysis. There may be additional information is hidden behind some plot. We need to figure that out to develop a plan; to implement solutions; to make future adjustments and lead innovation.

Finding the real problem and getting Compelling results:

When an organization starts to diagnose the issues, the most concerned thing is to recognize the root cause that is the mother of all. The other issue is the difference in perception. What you see, I may not feel that. What I think, you may not support that. The perception of problems varies from one individual to another also from department to department. If you have some coding issues, you would obviously go to the developer, not to the client manager. If you have issues on budgets you will go to the Portfolio level managers, not to the Data analysts. And all These characters have differentiation in defining “Which one is the root cause of all?” In this case, what should a leader do?

The answer is: If there are many separate chains, create the perfect link that can join them together and make it one single chain. When identifying a problem, see the context properly, analyze the resources, productivity, benefits. There’s one thing to remember: it’s not possible to put an impact on one process without influencing another. Example: Call the teams (developers/testers, Client associates etc) Show them how one error in one process affects others. Like code error - delay in product development - delay in release and ultimately the unsatisfied client. Make the teams understand to avoid negative result on the customer side, they need to take extra measures to find the defects, that too together. Establish a proper channel of conversation between teams. Let them decide what works for them best and what does Not!!

 This is it for today :-)

Check out my blogs similar to this @https://www.visiontemenos.com/blog/author/ipsita-priyadarshini 

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