Saturday, October 1, 2011

I used to be puzzled when I reflected on the observation that we seem to be able to solve problems as individuals much more quickly and with greater certainty than we could as groups.

I used to believe that having many different perspectives of a problem would be an asset – but in reality it seems to be more of a liability.

Now when I receive an invitation to a meeting to discuss an issue of urgent importance my little heart sinks as I recall the endless hours of my limited life-time wasted in worthless, unproductive discussion.

But, not to be one to wallow in despair I have been busy applying the principles of Improvement Science to this ubiquitous and persistent niggle.  And I have discovered something called Argument Free Problem Solving (AFPS) – or rather that is my name for it because it does what it says on the tin – it solves problems without arguments.

The trick was to treat problem-solving as a process; to understand how we solve problems as individuals; what are the worthwhile bits; and how we scupper the process when we add-in more than one person; and then how to design-to-align the  problem-solving workflow so that it …. flows. So that it is effective and efficient.

The result is AFPS and I’ve been testing it out. Wow! Does it work or what!

I have also discovered that we do not need to create an artificial set of Rules or a Special Jargon – we can  apply the recipe to any situation in a very natural and unobtrusive way.  Just this week I have seen it work like magic several times: once in defusing what was looking like a big bust up looming; once t0 resolve a small niggle that had been magnified into a huge monster and a big battle – the smoke of which was obscuring the real win-win-win opportunity; and once in a collaborative process improvement exercise that demonstrated a 2000% improvement in system productivity – yes – two thousand percent!

So AFPS  has been added to the  Improvement Science treasure chest and (because I like to tease and have fun) I have hidden the key in cyberspace at coordinates

Mwah ha ha ha – me hearties!