Culture plus process equals breakthrough solutions

There are numerous articles, posts and content around team problem solving processes.

Basically these involve a number of steps:

1. Defining the problem

2. Generating alternative solutions

3. Evaluating these and

4. Implementation

But what has been less covered is what sort of team culture is needed for successful problem solving?

It is the exact question I asked a group of future leaders at a recent workshop I facilitated.

I was so intrigued by the question that as the group was discussing the issue I wrote down my initial thoughts using my Ideas Blitz template (i.e. Speed Thinking).

You can see my results in the image above.

The 9 dimensions I identified were:

a. Everyone
– every one can contribute to the new solutions
– it’s a skill that every individual, group and team can learn

b. Goal
– why not have a group or team problem solving goal?
– it could be on the success rate for example

c. Practice
– team problem solving is a skill and hence can be enhanced through practice
– as my Kung Fu teacher says ‘you want to become better at Kung Fu? Do more Kung Fu’

d. Move out of the group or team’s comfort zone
– Learning a new skill requires you and the group to take on new and sometimes difficult challenges

e. Measure
– What gets measured gets done so goes the saying. So if groups or teams want to enhance their problem solving skills and capabilities it makes sense to try and measure the outcomes.

f. Feedback
– obtain feedback from the group or team e.g. how could we have solved this problem differently next time?

g. Learn
– by moving out of the comfort zone the entire group or team can continue to learn

h. Courage
– solving problems requires courage to speak up and generate left-field solutions for example

i. Trust
– trust the group or team members creativity, intuition and passion

The key point is that effective group or team problem solving is a function of both the right people, process and culture.

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