Every one of us, from birth to death, are required to help solve problems every day.
Some say, that without problems to solve we would lose our ability to measure success. Other say, with all their test data to back it up, that we are losing our collective ability to solve problems.
Organizations have a struggle to overcome-Problem solving skills are challenging to develop!
Our organization offers The Learn Applied Skills by improving Problem-Solving skills training program that leverages three complete self-evaluation/improvement passes through the first two challenge paragraphs, while introducing additional soft and personal skills with each pass, to help learners improve both their soft & personal skills and their basic problem-solving skills. This training program enables learners to:
- Recognize needs and improve their soft and personal skills
- Prepare for meaningful internships
- Demonstrate work-based experiences
- Match employer expectations
- Select organizations that satisfy their personal needs
- Develop a solid learning foundation to adapt and continue their successful career path
- Gain teamwork participation certificates on Problem-Solving and Productivity-Improvement teams.
Excluding the silver-bullet solution attempt described here, the first challenge for the serious problem-solving trainer is whether to use a quantitative or qualitative method to train this set of skills.
- Quantitative: Every problem has a six or seven step solution process with an order of precedence, just like any math problem. So that decision is easy, correct? Primarily, the trainer has to develop a test with either correct/incorrect or best case solutions, pass them out, observe test taking and then grade them. (Did the trainer inspire any creative or critical thinking? Who benefited from this exercise, just the individual learner?)
- Qualitative: What if the trainer coached the learners on the six or seven steps, mentored the learners on the order of precedence and then observed and evaluated the learners’ ability to solve problems as a team? What if the trainer wouldn’t let the team stop with the first two or three proposed solutions, but had the team keep going until they had proposed seven or eight possible solutions to the problem – the last two or three solutions proposed required real creativity, right? Solving problems can bog down when inevitable roadblocks occur. But, with the seventh or eighth creative solutions, the team has other approaches, in which they are vested, to explore. Evaluation can be performed via the team’s presentation to their peers in the peer-to-peer discussion time. Suggest selectively giving the introverts the first chance at critiquing the team’s work – the extroverts will still volunteer their critiques. (Did the trainer inspire any creative or critical thinking? Did any other learners add to their knowledge base by critiquing the team’s work?)
The next challenge (or benefit) is the realization that problem-solving skills are hampered by any deficiency in the other five listed soft (work ethic, punctuality, communication, collaboration/team-work & professional) or the selected personal (showing respect, emotional intelligence, humility, etc.) skills. In most cases, each learner will recognize these deficiencies during their peer-to-peer presentations, and they will be recognized and listed in the reviewing peer critiques. As a benefit, this recognition will serve as motivators for each learner to improve these skills – and this applies to the non-presenters, as well.
In the final challenge, the learner learns to demonstrate work-based experiences by adapting and applying the above skills to progressively challenging sets of selected career-transferable work processes.
This exercise helps learners to:
- Self-evaluate / improve problem-solving skills in a total system work environment.
- Gain a working knowledge of the ‘work’ the employer will expect.
- Begin to value the benefits gained by integrating individual process capabilities.
Additionally, our students are trained to use five additional problem-solving methods to:
- Help them develop new habits.
- Combine the 5-Why, Cause & Effect & basic Project Management skills.
- Become familiar with the basic Lean Six-Sigma problem-solving method.
- Learn the basics of the scientific Plan-Do-Check-Act problem-solving method.
- Learn and demonstrate knowledge about the selected process or operation, which helps all the previous four steps.