Every Lean specialist would agree with me, that a robust and effective problem solving process is an inseparable part of Lean transformation. And there is sense to it, because if the Lean principles are applied right, problems found by analyzing ineffective processes would come to light. Along with them but come higher goals such as shorter lead time, improved quality etc., that each represent a certain form of “problem” itself.

So a whole lot of new problems would come up.

Sadly, in many cases, those new problems would be solved only on partially or not at all due to ineffective system of problem solving. Why? There are three symptoms uncovering such a bad system:

  1. Congestion of the system by projects, that are not moving towards completion, in delay or that are active, but not being solved at all
  2. Solvers have too much work with the load of unsolved old problems
  3. Old problems were never really solved at the root cause level and are emerging over again

Think about it. Have you ever heard someone saying: “We were dealing with that problem something like year ago!”, “We are overloaded, everything is delayed and we don’t have any resources left to accept new projects!”, “May be we could approach this sometime during the next quarter.” etc.?

But what does this mean for the company? Predominantly, that it closes the door to its growth (although each organization has the goal of growth in their strategy).

I often encounter a situation, when a company loads way too much on their back and then tries to complete and finish an unbelievable number of projects during the fiscal year – what usually only results in not finishing any as the end of the year is getting closer.

In pursuit of reporting out that the goals were reached, the quality diminishes completely and the lust for quantity takes over. In other words: the need for speed without reason.

Less is sometimes really more…

The problem will be then solved only on surface and for a little while, until it shows up again or even better (or worse) the problem will transfer to someone else.

Solving problems without end, meaning to not truly resolving them, is like walking in circle and hope, that you’ll somehow reach the end eventually. To “want” to solve problems is good, but if you keep coming back to where you began – means you are not growing at all.

If you get stuck in solving, or you keep returning to good old same problems over again is a sign of the very opposite of growth and development for which there is one ugly term: stagnation.

Just imagine, in such an environment, that you’d want to apply something as robust as the principles of Lean manufacturing, where pulling your problems up on the surface is the very principal foundation.

In an organization, which is flooded with unresolved issues, would a thoughtless approach cause more harm than benefit.

What you really want and need for you to keep growing – so anyone can – is to resolve the important issues done, set them in concrete of your foundation so you can keep building up on them.

Solve problems, which are clearly linked to your organizational goals and strategies. Solve issues at the level of root causes and resolve them. Validate effectiveness in comparison to your goals, set up control systems and standardize – set in concrete – the upgraded process in a way so the new state can be sustained.

To transfer a problem to someone or somewhere else doesn’t count as resolving!

STOP STAGNATING and start up your growth back again.

At our A3/PDCA training you’ll learn what it means to solve problems professionally and how to get out of the curse of stagnation. We’ll give you tools and knowledge and if you’d want us to, we can help and lead you back to growth even after the training is done.