hygiene zone
quality tools
quality techniques
human issues
quality awards
quality extra
visitor tools


Stay Informed
Sign up below to receive our Occasional Newsletter.

We Respect Your Privacy!

Web SaferPak
SaferPak: Food Packaging Safety, Food Safety, Business Improvement and Quality Management
       Home     About     Contact

The Four Corners of Problem Solving
By Barton Goldsmith

How much of your day is involved with solving other people's problems? Many business owners spend half their time solving problems for their team members. Time that could be used working "on" their businesses rather than "in" their businesses. In addition, if you solve the problems for your team members, you are not educating them to become effective managers.

These four steps to Innovative Problem Solving can guide you and your team to timely, productive and profitable answers to your challenges. The key here is that if you can't answer all the questions, you may not be looking at the right issue.

Step 1. Confirming and Outlining the Problem
Facing the problem is usually the hardest part, looking at a problem square in the eye. If you are serious about finding a solution, you need to first confirm that there is a problem. Once you have confirmation, outline the problem. Ask yourself and your team, "What is the real issue here?" Look at the source of the discovery, are team members blaming other team members or clients? Are you blaming others? And finally you have to ask the toughest question, are you part of the problem?

Step 2. Creating Solutions

Being very clear on the issues opens new doors of thinking and perspectives. A clear vision of the problem allows various choices to appear. Take the time to write down all the possible choices, even ones that may seem "far out". Remember, there could be a seed of wisdom there. Don't eliminate anything. This is the art of Brainstorming. Be aware that in order to Brainstorm effectively, the leader needs to participate in the session rather than conduct it.

Step 3. Evaluating Solutions
This is where you weed your ideas and evaluate each potential solution. Which ones "speak" to you? If they "speak", then consider the resources necessary, i.e. what will it take to get this plan in motion? Are the resources available and are they appropriate? In other words, how much is it going to cost? Some people think that by throwing money at a problem you can solve it, and that isn't necessarily so. Next, you need to estimate the probability of success. Take those ideas and weigh and balance them to figure out which are the most feasible. This is simply guessing, the first step in a statistical analysis. Select the three best ideas to work on, more than that makes the final choice next to impossible.

Step 4. Creating the Action Plan
This is where you establish your game/strategic plan. Write down the necessary action steps, with an anticipated time line of completion. Your next step is to anticipate obstacles. What's in the way of implementing your new plan and what is needed to overcome them? Brainstorm once again with some different staff members to get another perspective. Try experimenting with the ideas. As you weigh the strengths and weaknesses, you can make your final adjustments. Be sure to allow for the creative process in your outcome.


For more than two decades Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, and government organizations worldwide have relied on Dr. Barton Goldsmith to help them develop creative and balanced leadership. He is a highly sought-after keynote speaker, business consultant and author. His column "Passionate Leadership" appears in over 150 newspapers, magazines and trade publications, including the Los Angeles Business Journal. Dr. Goldsmith works regularly with The Young President's Organization (YPO) and The Executive Committee (TEC). Considered an expert on business, he has given over 5,000 professional presentations and has spoken to audiences worldwide. He can be contacted through his web site at: www.BartonGoldsmith.com or at (866) 5-BARTON.








Back to previous page




























top of page


home :: about :: contact :: terms

© 2006 SaferPak Ltd.