first step in the problem solving and decision making process is
to identify and define the problem.
can be regarded as a difference between the actual situation and
the desired situation. This means that in order to identify a problem
the team must know where it is meant to be and have a clear understanding
of where it currently is in relation to the perceived problem.
order to clearly define the problem the following steps can be followed:
with the team where the team should be
Team Purpose, the Team Performance Plan and the Operational Plan
can be used to identify where the team should be. If an organised
and structured planning process has been followed then the desired
position and performance of the team should be clear. However, when
a problem arises it is always worthwhile to involve the team members
in identifying and understanding the gap between the actual situation
and the desired situation. This helps to ensure that all team members
understand that a problem exists and that they are an integral part
in rectifying the situation.
and document the problem
this step it is important to clearly describe and document what
you and the team consider the problem to be. This helps to ensure
that agreement is reached as to the problem and provides a starting
point for resolving the problem. Describing the problem also ensures
that any confusion about the problem is identified and resolved.
technique for describing the problem is to ask a number of questions
which can help direct the team to actively think about the problem.
questions that can be usefully employed are:
When asking the question Who do you believe is involved? ask the
team to state facts and not to apportion blame.
you and the team have worked through these questions the answers
should be used to document the problem as specifically and accurately
description of the problem should be verified by and agreed with
the team. This description can then be used as a starting point
for the next step in the problem solving and decision making process:
gather information relevant to the problem.
Star Bank Customer Contact Centre has a problem with its Credit
Card team. A number of Call Centre Operators have not been turning
up for work on Mondays and this has affected the performance levels
of the team.
Credit Card Team Leader has decided to follow the problem solving
and decision making process in order to implement a suitable solution
to this problem.
conjunction with the team the Team Leader has used the Performance
Plan and the Operational Plan to highlight where the team should
be in terms of attendance and performance.
team have documented the problem as:
absenteeism rates of 20.5% on Mondays are affecting the performance
levels of the Credit Card team. An absenteeism rate of 5% has been
budgeted for in the Operational Plan.