Teaching Problem-Solving Skills
Imagine how much better most employees would solve regularly recurring problems if you were to prepare them in advance with ready made solutions so they don’t have to “problem solve” anew each time: If A happens, you do B. If C happens, you do D.
What kind of job aids does your organization have to help employees learn ready-made solutions for dealing with recurring problems?
If your organization already has job aids, such as checklists, then spread those tools and spread the word. Use those checklists as the centerpiece of training, coaching, and ongoing reinforcement.
If not, then help employees create job aids for recurring problems:
- Take each problem, one by one, asking for each: Is there an established policy or procedure for this problem? What resources are available? How much discretion will the individual have to improvise? What is the best solution here?
- Spell out a best practice for each problem, step by step.
- Make that best practice a standard operating procedure.
- Turn those standard operating procedures into simple job aids, such as checklists or automated menu-driven systems.
Employees who study those best practices and use those job aids will develop steadily growing repertoires of ready-made solutions. And by teaching employees to implement specific step-by-step solutions to recurring problems, you are teaching them what good problem solving looks like. Upon that foundation, they can build more advanced problem-solving skills.