Ten Components of Effective Team Problem Solving

When problems arise in your organization they need to be dealt with immediately and with a collectively developed problem solving process.

Team problems

Those affected by both the problem and its solution need to be a part of the team that goes through the process and develops solutions to resolve the underlying issues that cause it. The following are ten components of any such problem solving process that, if observed, will lead to effective and lasting solutions to the problems you face.

1. Team members readily contribute from their experience and listen to the contributions of others.

2. Disagreements arising from different points of view are considered helpful; they are seen as the crucible out of which unambiguous and honest solutions can flow.

3. Team members challenge suggestions they believe are unsupported by facts or logic but avoid arguing just to have their way or to be noticed for their own individual input.

4. Poor solutions are not supported just for the sake of harmony or agreement.

5. Differences of opinion are discussed and resolved. Coin tossing, averaging, straw-drawing, majority vote and similar cop-outs are avoided when making a decision.

6. Every team member strives to make the problem solving process efficient and is careful to facilitate rather than hinder discussion; each member strives to encourage and applaud individual efforts to contribute as well as the contributions themselves.

7. Team members encourage and support co-workers who are reluctant to offer ideas or to offer differing views from those already expressed.

8. Team members understand the value of time and work to eliminate extraneous and/or repetitious discussion.

9. Team decisions are not arbitrarily overruled by the leader simply because he/she doesn’t agree with them; each member is committed to respecting each other’s views and to honoring the sources of these views as being legitimate and sincere.

10. The team understands that the leader will make the best decision he or she can if a satisfactory team solution is not forthcoming; they each agree to support and promote the decision that results from the problem solving process whether it is made collectively by the team or individually by the leader of the team.

About the Author

Ken Wallace, M. Div., CSL has been in the organizational development field since 1973. He is a seasoned consultant, speaker and executive coach with extensive business experience in multiple industries who provides practical organizational direction and support for business leaders. His topics include ethics, leadership, change, communication & his unique Optimal Process Design® program.

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