"Problems are messages ignored." Anonymous

Problems can present you with opportunities for learning and improvement. How many times have you seen a problem that keeps recurring and nothing is done about it? Start seeing problems as opportunities! Learn from mistakes that have been made, and start to identify the cause of the problem. One of the most powerful ways of doing this is by creating an environment where there is "no-blame." This can be done in a few very simple steps:

1. Discuss problems when they occur. Instead of blaming those involved, ask some very simple, but powerful questions:

> What could we have done to prevent this problem happening?
> What exactly went wrong, when, and where
>What caused the problem (always look for the source of the problem)
> Were there any warning signs that we either didn't see, or didn't act on?
> What do we need to do in order to stop this happening again (fix the source of the problem)

(Compare the power of using "What" questions, to the blame associated with "Why" questions. Why did this happen? Why didn't you stop this?)

2. Ask your team to come up with an Action Plan so that:

> the current problem is fixed
> the source of the problem is identified, and steps taken to ensure that the real reason the problem occurred is addressed.

3. Implement the Action Plan, and then review the situation after one month to check that it has been successful.

4. Create an environment where there is opportunity for Continuous Improvement by using a simple Problem Log. Allow your team members access to the log so that lessons learned can be shared:

> Record problems as they occur
> Identify the source of the problem
> Create an Action Plan to resolve the problem once and for all
> Implement the Action plan
> Review on a regular basis to check that the resolution has been successful

Author's Bio: 

© 2002 Business Coaching4U "Inspire your people to GROW your business."

Is your biggest challenge right now to provide more with fewer resources, for customers who demand more - for less? If so, working with Business Coaching4U can help you to design, develop and grow your business, and to communicate more effectively with your customers and employees. Business Coaching4U was founded by Chrissie Slade - a Business Coach based in the UK. Want to know more? Visit www.businesscoaching4u.com or email chrissie@businesscoaching4u.com

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