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7 Steps To Collaborative Problem Solving - Create The Conditions For Success


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Different thinking requires different people working together in different ways. Learn the seven steps to collaborative problem solving for your organization. Visit for more articles and presentations. if you would like to generate or accelerate your strategy, visit me at

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7 Steps To Collaborative Problem Solving - Create The Conditions For Success

  1. 1. Create The Conditions Business Quickie 7 Steps to Collaborative Problem Solving Morry Patoka [email_address]
  2. 2. You can’t solve problems with the same thinking that created them Albert Einstein Different thinking requires different people working together in different ways
  3. 3. <ul><li>Agree on a statement that describes the problem </li></ul><ul><li>List the elements of the problem that are known and unknown </li></ul><ul><li>Agree on a statement that describes what a solution must achieve </li></ul><ul><li>Establish metrics to track your progress and results </li></ul>Step 1 – Define Your Intentions Set the bar high Do you want to patch the problem, fix it, or change the way your company does things so it can’t happen again?
  4. 4. Step 2 – Expose The Problem Break it down and prioritize by the things you can impact Nil The economy Low Parent company policy Components of the Problem (Examples) Ability to Impact Inadequate market insights High Poor training High Procrastination High Customer confusion High Supplier billing system Medium Data migration Medium Budget constraints Low
  5. 5. Step 3 – Build The Right Team <ul><li>Go inside: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Specialists from other departments who might touch the problem between the root, such as production, and at the end in customer service </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Executives who can make quick decisions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Managers and employees who live with the problem </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Go outside: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Experts who work in different industries having similar issues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consultants who force you to think about things that push you past your comfort zone </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Core customers who will offer insights and ideas in the right forum (i.e. workshop), not just criticism (i.e. focus group) </li></ul></ul>Identify people who contribute knowledge, insights and ideas
  6. 6. Step 4 – Inspire New Thinking <ul><li>Bright ideas come from using different techniques that get your people out of the box; for example… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Collage – paste together visual images of the problem and potential solutions using pictures cut out of magazines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Worst to Best – imagine the worst possible things you could do to address the problem then flip those into positive solutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Money Mania – what would you do if you had $1 billion to solve the problem; what would you do if you only had $1? </li></ul></ul>Give your team permission to be creative
  7. 7. Step 5 – Evaluate Ideas Use agreed upon criteria to prioritize ideas for development Idea Gates Establish criteria that allows 50% of the ideas to pass through the filter Criteria that allows 50% of Gate One ideas to pass Criteria that allows only 2-3 ideas to pass i.e. Impact on problem and potential i.e. Capabilities and capacity i.e. Speed to implementation and budget 1 2 3
  8. 8. Step 6 – Take Action <ul><ul><li>Lists information gaps and sources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leverages the broadest spectrum of your people as possible to create company- wide ownership of the solution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Outlines immediate next steps, dates, resources and individual accountabilities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Establishes a senior manager or executive as responsible for overseeing the process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sets milestone dates with regular meetings for the team to navigate hurdles and make smart decisions through to completion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Measures the effectiveness of the solution post-implementation </li></ul></ul>Create an Action Plan that… Action Plan
  9. 9. Step 7 – Get Smarter Ideas Shaping Planning Development Execution Evaluation Learning Application Embed the experience in your corporate culture solutions Very Broad Very Focused
  10. 10. A series of short presentations to help inspire thinking and accelerate action I would really appreciate your feedback. Please visit to share your comments, questions and suggestions. is my blog where you’ll read daily perspectives on what it takes to create the right conditions for your business to succeed. If you’d like to learn how to develop the winning strategy by leveraging the collective brainpower of your organization, please visit . Morry Patoka [email_address] Copyright © 2009 Create The Conditions Business Quickies