Your personal success depends on your ability to lead teams! Great team leaders are promoted and are successful entrepreneurs. Leading teams is the critical competence for leaders at all levels today. And, problem-solving is the basic methodology that drives improvement by teams and lean organizations. This short course, part of the Team Kata series, provides the basic skills and philosophy of effective problem solving. It is based on 35 years of experience developing teams and implementing lean management.
The course covers the following:
This course will present several models of problem solving that are easy to learn and to apply. Whether the senior management team or a team on the factory floor, you can apply these tools to improve your performance. They include the following:
Toyota Production System, or lean management and culture, are based on the practice of continuous improvement through problem solving. This lectures reviews the basic principles of lean that apply to problem solving.
The principles of lean that are important to how we solve problems include the following:
Our mental model, our beliefs and attitudes, toward problem solving will shape our behavior as we attempt to practice effective problem solving.
All problem solving relies on a frank and thorough analysis of the "current condition" or "current state", or situation. This lecture presents a simple, yet thorough, model of situation analysis.
Many problems are made worse, by not fully understanding the situation. Situation Analysis includes the following:
Even five year-old's have a desire to get to the root cause of a matter by repetitively asking "Why, mommy?" This is one form of root cause analysis that can be mastered by anyone.Asking the 5 why's is deceptively simple. By asking them in a disciplined manner they can lead to profound discovery.
The PDCA problem solving model is the most widely used, most proven method of engaging a team in problem solving. It simply works.
The Plan-Do-Check-Act, sometimes called the Plan-Do-Study or Learn-Act model was developed in the 1930's by Walter Schewart, it was promoted by Dr. W. Edwards Deming and Dr. Juran, adopted by Toyota and has become the foundation business improvement process at Toyota and other lean companies. It can be used in a ten minute pre-shift huddle, or it can be used for major process improvement.
The A3 is not simply a problem solving model. It is a philosophy and approach to high involvement learning and improvement.Be sure to see the attached A3 form.
This lecture goes step by step through the questions one asks, the sequence of learning and discovery, that is the A3.
Some may not need this, but many others will require a review and practice of brainstorming techniques. Brainstorming is how you generate ideas, creativity, toward the discover of both causes and counter measures to a problem.
This lecture presents the Pareto principle, or 80/20 rule, to focus energies on the critical few.
It seems unbelievable, but too often teams do a good job of identifying improvements, but the team members fail to take action to implement improvements. This lecture presents simple and guaranteed effective methods of developing action plans and accountability. Be sure to download the attached forms.
While I have attempted to present both simple and effective problem solving methods, it should be noted that there are other forms of problem solving. Some problem solving is about resolving conflicts and changing behavior. Some is about transforming processes that may flow through the organization. These other forms of problem solving are addressed in other courses in this series:
For the past forty years Lawrence M. Miller has worked to improve the performance of organizations and the skills of their leaders. His expertise is derived from hands on experience creating change in the culture of hundreds of organizations.
He began his work in youth prisons after recognizing that the learning system in the organization had exactly the opposite of its intended effect – increasing, rather than decreasing, dysfunctional behavior. For four years he worked to redesign the prison system by establishing the first free-economy behind prison walls, where each inmate had to pay rent, maintain a checking account, and pay for everything he desired. This was his first application of organizational transformation.
He has been consulting, writing and speaking about business organization and culture since 1973. After ten years with another consulting firm, he formed his own firm, the Miller Howard Consulting Group in 1983. In 1998 he sold his firm to Towers Perrin, an international human resource consulting firm and became a Principal of that firm. In 1999 he left that firm to focus on solo consulting projects.
He and his firm were one of the early proponents of team-based management and worked with many clients to implement Team Management from the senior executive team to include every level and every employee in the organization. The Team Management process created a company of business managers, with every employee focused on continuous improvement of business performance. In addition to directing the overall change process, Mr. Miller personally coached the senior management team of many of his clients.
The implementation of Team Management led to the realization that the whole-system of the organization needed to be redesigned to create alignment so all systems, structure, skills, style and symbols support the same goals and culture. From this realization he developed the process of Whole System Architecture that is a high involvement method of rethinking all of the systems, structures and culture of the organization. Among his consulting clients have been 3M, Corning, Shell Oil Company, Amoco and Texaco, Shell Chemicals, Air Canada and Varig Airlines, Eastman Chemicals, Xerox, Harris Corporation, McDonald's and Chick-fil-A, Merck and Upjohn Pharmaceuticals, United Technologies, Metropolitan Life and Landmark Communications.
Mr. Miller has authored ten books, among them American Spirit: Visions of A New Corporate Culture, which was the text for Honda of America's course on their values and culture; and Barbarians to Bureaucrats: Corporate Life Cycle Strategies, which draws on the history of the rise and fall of civilizations to illustrate the patterns of leadership and evolution in corporate cultures. Most recently he authored Getting to Lean – Transformational Change Management that draws on the best change management practices such as socio-technical system design, appreciative inquiry, and systems thinking or learning organizations to provide a road map to transforming organizations. He has also authored Team Kata - Your Guide to Becoming A High Performing Team, the core human process of lean organizations. Most recently he published The Lean Coach that corresponds to his course on Coaching Leaders for Success. He has appeared on the Today Show, CNN, made numerous appearances on CNBC, has written for The New York Times and been the subject of a feature story in Industry Week magazine.