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The Six Disciplines Blog


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

How Collaborative Problem Solving Made Heroes of My Team – Again and Again

Here is how to do Creative Problem Solving:

      • Step 1. Brainstorm.
      • Step 2. Vote.
      • Step 3. Discuss.
      • Step 4. Evaluate solutions.
      • Step 5. Re-vote.
      • Step 6. Reach Consensus and Formulate plan… (more details below)

Solving business problems seems so simple. Yet, the majority of managers fail at it. Over 70% of employees feel disengaged from their company*. 

As a good manager, you are charged with getting your team on the same page, giving them a sense of purpose.

Harvard Business Review What Great Managers Do to Engage Employees

Data from Gallup State of the American Workplace” 2013

Six-step creative problem solving process RightPage™

Watch the video to see how RightPage works and register for it today… Its FREE!

Registrant gains free access to use RightPage online collaboration software and agrees to receive supporting Emails, which may be unsubscribed at any time. For best results, each team member should Register so that votes can be recorded automatically. Security and confidentiality is to be maintained per our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Online collaboration tools can make this easier. More on that in a moment. But first, how does the art of problem-solving go beyond merely conducting a meeting, to become an essential part of a high-performing company?

        • Employees and management of the most successful companies are aligned on strategic goals. They execute on plans to meet objectives, and pivot as needed, in unison.
        • Team members at leading companies understand how their work product fits in, and how their quality affects the whole.
        • High-achieving organizations rely on engaged employees who have self-determination and feel their labors contribute materially to success. They maintain focus, take ownership of ideas and plans. These employees execute.

Commitment to a plan’s success originates in employee engagement. Employees feel engaged when they have contributed to the plan. This shared solution creates personal commitment and removes the sensation of shackles and marching orders.

Highly-skilled and fortunate managers have probably witnessed effective brainstorming, when people create consensus, put together a plan and then pitch in to make it real. It is the most inspiring moment for most managers.

But as an executive, manager or HR professional, you also are likely to have witnessed the reverse. Disagreeable employees, lack of agreement, chaos and ineffective lack of consensus, resulting in unresolved problems. Which factor is important while brainstorming?

All of this necessary collaboration and cooperation requires a lot of communication and meetings.

“Meetings!” you groan. Ideally, meetings result in “a meeting of the minds” and employees emerge “on the same page”, with a clear action plan and resolve. Yet most of us have suffered through meetings where you go ‘around and around’ debating some topic. Those meetings feel endless. The meeting seems to go nowhere!

What is the process that puts meetings on the right track? What is the step-by-step meeting method that ensures creative problem solving?

Here is a more-detailed six-step Creative Problem Solving process, distilled from decades of running effective businesses, mentoring and coaching, and solving thousands of problems in successful brainstorming sessions.

Pose the Problem to be Solved.

The leader must state the problem. Be thorough but brief. Do not signal preferred solutions. Do establish prior attempts.

Step 1. Brainstorm

The first step in problem solving in the workplace. No such thing as a bad idea. Record them all. Encourage different points of view. Use icebreakers or warmup exercises if needed. Leader waits, reserves quality judgment and adds idea last, if at all. Restate concepts for full understanding.

Step 2. Vote

Record the vote. This initial vote starts qualification and consideration. Allow split votes. And private votes give even shy employees their voice.

Step 3. Discuss vote results

Based on the dynamics, whether consensus, split, or random results. Voters can declare and explain their positions. Questions may arise but do not engage in qualitative critique of votes.

Step 4. Evaluate solutions

Challenge leading solutions to be made better. Combine or integrate. Refine the slate: improve weak proposals, eliminate those that received zero votes.

Step 5. Re-vote

This is the key move to come to an agreement.

Step 6. Reach Consensus

Announce the agreement. Attendees to help Formulate the plan of action.

Collaboration Tools

What kinds of collaboration tools are needed? If you’re tired of Post-It® Notes, flipcharts, dry-erase markers and whiteboards, then you’re ready for a free collaboration software that makes it easy to run a good, productive team meeting. Team collaboration software provides a simple way to run brainstorms as a problem solving process. The software can reduce pressure by making voting private. The best collaboration software will keep records of ideas and votes, for you.

Free collaboration software is available.

But there are so many collaborative software tools to choose from. Where to begin?

We at Six Disciplines developed our own team collaboration tools. We made it dirt-simple to use. And, we crafted it to match the six-step process of creative problem solving, so that our clients could consistently gather all of the great ideas and different perspectives, and come to an agreement, again and again.

The RightPage™ app helps small groups get on the same page, the right page, quickly and easily. It’s mobile, so it will work in the office, as well as remotely, work from home, or at events. Any number of registered users may use it, and their ideas and votes will be automatically recorded. It works on any web-attached device, Windows or MacOS, including desktop PCs, laptops, tablets like iPad and others, and smartphones, whether iPhone or Android.

Over the past 10 years, managers have used this app in so many different ways, that we have made it free to our clients. It saves them time and saves us, too. And now, we are offering it to you, for free, with no obligation. Why? Because managers have been brainstorming so successfully that we have grown, and we want to ‘give back’ to the business community. Who knows? You may share a success story with us! Your peers would love to hear from successful users at companies of all sizes. Your success is ours.

All that you need to get started with RightPage is: 

    1. Register
    2. Watch the instructional 5-minute video
    3. Grab the Training PDF

We will Email you when you register for the tool. We’ll offer support if you need it. You may never need tech support or guidance because it is just that simple and it works. But, you should know that, when you try RightPage:

    • It is easy to unsubscribe at any time
    • Your information is kept private and secure
    • Data about you is kept confidential, and not shared with any other company. See privacy policy

Watch the 5-minute video, and get the RightPage app!

    • Get your team on the same page, with RightPage. It’s Free. There is absolutely no charge now, or ever!

Vern Strong CEO

Solomon Cloud Solutions Findlay, Ohio 

“Of all brainstorming software, I like Rightpage best. The Six Disciplines RightPage app is the easiest and most comprehensive brainstorming tool. The other apps I’ve used are either too simple, too complex, standalone, or don’t offer the kind of flexibility that you’d expect. (RightPage sure beats using flip charts or Post-It notes!) On top of that, the RightPage app is free, it’s mobile (any web-based device works – laptops, tablets, smartphones), it supports remote brainstorming, as well as voting (and re-voting) on brainstorming items.”

Chip Mclean President

Tune Consulting, Inc Indianapolis, Indiana

So this process and tool is a game changer. If you have not experienced take some time. It gives everyone in the discussion a voice and also helps create alignment. If you need more insight into the process, buy the book.

What is Six Disciplines?

The Six Disciplines RightPage app is a free app in the Six Disciplines suite of performance management software. It gives you a “taste” of Six Disciplines methods. Their “real” offering is a comprehensive program of performance management, strategy execution, and leadership development programs (and integrated software) that are supported by certified, experienced business coaches. Managers and executives at organizations committed to excellence and continuous improvement should consider Six Disciplines as a valuable ally.

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Since 2005, the Six Disciplines blog offers posts about performance excellence, strategy execution, business coaching, leadership development, innovation, and business process improvement. This blog has received prestigious awards for leadership and management and has been syndicated by several major media sources.