We spend a lot of time talking about properly identifying problems and the importance of understanding the ‘current state’ of an organisation.
We get it.
We probably sound like a broken record, but the fact remains problem identification is a huge contributor to successful change management and continuous improvement projects.
Eventually though, the time comes for a solution to be implemented.
Solutions can bring about another raft of challenges, namely: “Is this solution effective?” One solution most certainly does not fit all problems and what once was a great solution may not be effective after a period of time and a solution for one group may not be right for another.
So how do you tell which solution is right for your business, the problem you’re trying to solve and your team overall?
At Cogniom, we created a system called the “Solution Effectiveness Level” as a guide to help determine how effective a solution will be… or won’t be!
With four levels – Band Aid, Prevention, Cure and Eradication you can start to see the solution in a pragmatic light and how it will impact your business now and into the future.
#1 – BAND AID
It doesn’t fix the problem but makes it feel better right now.
A quick fix is sometimes an immediate necessity until a better solution can be implemented. While it may appear cost effective now, you must ask yourself what is the long term cost of not implementing a more sound solution.
#2 – PREVENTION
Will help people stop experiencing the problem, but doesn’t necessarily solve it.
Think: Slippery when wet signs. While they help people avoid slipping in the patch of water, they don’t actually fix the problem causing the water to be on the ground in the first place. In business, these situation may end up being referred to as ‘work arounds’ causing more problems down the line.
#3 – CURE
Something to fix the problem when it appears but doesn’t stop the problem from recurring.
Being able to immediately fix a problem each time it arises is a commonly accepted solution method, but understanding that it will appear time and again and the impact that has on your business is crucial for future planning.
#4 – ERADICATION
Removes the problem altogether so it is never experienced again.
The holy grail of solution implementation. Being able to solve a problem as if it never existed is highly desirable but may not always be viable. Make sure just as much validation goes into this type of solution as any others.
Implementing a solution can be a very rewarding journey especially when you begin to see the benefits. Some things to consider when deciding on a solution:
– Don’t be hasty. Just as we encourage you to properly understand the ‘current state’ of your business and the true problems being faced, taking the time to understand how a solution will impact your business now and into the future is just as crucial.
– Find a solution that matches your financial situation. Equal consideration should be given to the long term cost (financially and workplace culturally) of continuously applying band aids to problems, as well as the impact of a large scale eradication solution and the long term maintenance it may require.
– Talk to your team. Your team are vital to your business and will be the ones living with the solutions implemented. While a solution may work perfectly for one group, it may have negative impacts on another. Consider the flow on effect for the other parts of your business.
Managing problems and solutions is not a one time “set and forget” deal. They are a continuous journey that will change, shift and adapt around technology processes and skill sets over time.
They key to successfully managing it is arming yourself with real world knowledge of your business and making data backed decisions that is right for you and your team.