We are always happy, happy, happy to see writers and organizations setting aside the often appearing verbal volley-ball around terms such as problem finding/problem solving and instead return to recognizing the value of such skills in the context of the challenges being faced today by organizations in every industry. Michael Skok modeled such a return recently writing in the Harvard Business Review blog entitled: “Amazon Turned a Flaw into Gold with Advanced Problem-Solving”
In the Amazon story, problem finding, problem solving and the orientation of seeing problems as opportunities play significant roles as does the turning of a specific internal situational solution into an external global solution offering.
Here are 10 things that we liked and agreed with in Skok’s post:
1. “…make it everyone’s responsibility to solve problems at EVERY level in the organization.”
2. “Grass roots collaborative solutions are so often the best.”
3. “Some of the best solutions come from multi-disciplinary, multi-level, cross-functional problem solving.”
4. “Try even to engage your customers, partners and communities from outside the company. This co-creation often fosters trust and understanding.”
5. “Encourage self-awareness and motivate people to ask for help to develop their weaknesses and team around their strengths.”
6. “Offer training and development for those who want to reach higher.”
7. “Recognize and reward progress up…problem solving [Skills Progression] levels.”
8. “Look beyond problem prevention – create new opportunities from continuous improvement.”
9. “Taking this approach to problem solving will build both abundance and resilience on your team.”
10. “I’ve found that the companies that attract, nourish and reward people with great problem-solving skills as a core competency get tremendous competitive advantage from it.”
Of course making it everyone’s responsibility to solve problems at EVERY level in the organization suggests the on-boarding of an adaptable skill-set that extends beyond product, service, experience and interface creation. Today most organizational leaders recognize that many types of challenges exist in their organizations in addition to product and service related creation.
Whether organizations choose to call what they are using to address such diverse challenges their innovation toolbox, problem solving toolbox or complexity navigation toolbox matters a whole lot less than what is actually inside it, what it is designed to help you do. Whatever you choose to call it we agree that having an adaptable change-making tool-set and skill-set applicable in multi-disciplinary contexts remains key.