Creating Greater Organizational Capacity

From Training to Installing a system

Any attempt to shift the problem solving style of an organization is likely to run into both the culture and the senior leadership style. The services proposed here are generic, and need to be reconfigured to fit a particular situation. A training course can also be a way to check out how new ideas might clash or coincide with a culture. Or it can be an exercise in futility. Please contact me for an initial conversation if you are interested in any of the options below.

One-on-one Coaching
OUTCOME: Addressing your current organizational problems and learning the problem solving model.

Spending 1-2 hours/week on the phone reviewing the toughest problems you're facing, and how to approach them most effectively.

Typically this option is only available for someone who has attended one of the various trainings on the PS2 model. The purpose is to extend that learning by applying it to real-world issues in the organization.

This option works well for someone directing a specific problem solving effort (such as a task force leader or project manager) as well as someone overseeing a wider domain (such as a department head or division executive).

Training in Problem Solving
OUTCOME: Training for participants and possible strategies for addressing the problems they face.

A one- or two-day course covering the basic problem solving model. Class participants are asked to bring in the tough problems that challenge them the most. Those situations become the case materials for the course. During the exercises, they will analyze those problems, identify their essential nature, and plot out a strategy for attacking them.

In the longer version, we can also cover the implications for leadership. The focus shifts to how to cultivate and support problem solving below the participant. The material covers how to frame problems initially and how to delegate for the greatest leverage of staff time and talent.

Solving a Tough Problem
OUTCOME: Training for participants and a significant problem solved for the organization.

Testing whether the organization is ready for a higher level of problem solving.

This is an excellent way to explore (and hopefully demonstrate) the utility of the model by taking on a significant organizational problem. The participants are not "students" but more like a task force. They work directly on solving the problem through a series of meetings. They will likely interview stakeholders, collect data, solicit input from others through focus groups, explore options, and pilot a solution.

The group should have a clear charter to fix a problem, not just make a recommendation. They should have the authority to secure resources, take action, and get on the calendar of key players.

Installing a new problem solving system
OUTCOME: Training for the participants, the solution of several problems for the organization, and the installation of a system for problem solving that can frame future problem solving efforts.

The key to this most elaborate option is six people working together on six problems over about six months.

Imagine a key group of employees focused on addressing several strategically critical problems within the company. They meet frequently over a half a year to learn the model and apply it to real life issues. It is target practice with live ammo! Everyone they work with in the course of solving these key problems is introduced to a new process for doing the work.

A critical complement to this program is orienting top executives on how to play their unique role in this new problem solving approach. Leadership and robust problem solving are intimately intertwined. And, installing this new model will address several issues leaders often find frustrating:

  • How to delegate without losing control
  • How to provide direction without micro managing
  • How to create accountability without just making people anxious
  • How to find time for long-term thinking without losing touch with operations
  • How to avoid the onslaught of problems brought for executive review and approval

If you are wondering how this program could be tailored for your organization, I encourage you to contact me for an initial discussion.