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In House Work Groups to find solutions to work related issues


I work for a company which like any other, experiences problems and different issues but find that alot of the time they don't get solved, even though the person who discovered the problem gave a solution at the time. I want to look at the idea of setting up working groups within the company to try and get more people to own problems but that also help to empower people into implementing the solution themselves rather than thinking that the responsibility lies elsewhere. Has anyone done this or has anyone got a better idea for dealing with this.
Joanne McMeekin

8 Responses

  1. Problem Solving Groups
    Have you thought of Action Learning sets as a possible solution?

    I have experience both as a member of several groups and through working with clients to establish sets within their organisation. Get in touch, I would be happy to discuss the process.
    [email protected]
    Tel 01666 504 425

  2. Techniques for Problem Solving
    I have experience of establishing Action Learning Sets and in the past Quality Circles in organisations to help resolve work based problems.

    I have found that the key to their success is the training of the groups in appropriate problem solving techniques and developing the skills of the group in other areas e.g. negotiation, presentation skills etc. It is critical that the group has the skills and confidence to convince senior management to take on board/resource their solutions. I am happy to discuss this further. My telephone number is:
    020 8715 0396

  3. Problem Solving Groups

    When I was introducing problem solving into a large organisation, we made sure that everyone in the organisation (including directors)was trained in problem solving techniques and concepts so that they could understand the importance of defining the problem at the right level and of not jumping to solutions.

    People were trained in their natural workgroups – though in your case you may prefer to train them in cross-functional problem-solving groups. Managers attended the course twice – once with their manager’s group and secondly with their own group.

    The workshops started with specially prepared cases and then the group worked on their own problems. Facilitated help was provided after the workshop.

    Mike Wills
    [email protected]

  4. Problem Solving and Innovation
    We provide two training courses that might help you establish what appears to require a partial change in culture.

    These are our Problem Solving course and our Innovation and Creativity skills course.

    The first of these provides a clear model for solving problems and a step by step approach that ensures ideas are not lost and that decisions are based on properly developed and evaluated options.

    The second provides a full introduction to creativity and innovation as skills and shows how managers can encourage ideas and ensure that innovation is alive within their organisations.

    Both courses have been developed as part of the Management Development Programme for a major financial organisation. Details of our problem solving course are contained on our website and details of our more general innovation and creativity skills course are also contained there – I think you would require the innovation and creativity skills course we have which is tailored specifically to managers.

    Our website address is or for more information give me a call on 01423 546958.

    Hope this helps


  5. Broadening our perspectives on problem solving
    We at inQuest have been involved in helping people in organisations to improve performance for many years, with much of our early experiences in problem solving. We have discovered as we have worked with these people that problem solving is only a first step to lasting change and improvement. Because most problems we experience come from the processes and systems we operate, which are built on thoughts, feelings and assumptions our approach to what you describe is process and system improvement through action learning sets and improvement teams in a context of integrating the processes of leading and managing the organisation. The results of which have been considerable. Please contact me for any further info.

  6. learning in groups
    Joanne This is a very interesting question.In trying to help it reminded me of a group I was in quite a few years ago when I worked in a psychiatric hospital a number of us did work in the psychotherapy department and often had to take on work were we felt we had insufficient knowledge:- marital therapy, sex therapy, working with families etc. Regular meetings of the group, which happened every week -I was a member for around 3 years provided great support, but the real progress started when we all got over our fear of being “found out” i.e. to recognise that we had less knowledge than we needed, we were often uncertain, often didn’t know the answer etc, but had to appear competent because it was expected-it was a bit different for each person. So I guess an initial question is how you create a situation in which people are allowed , and allow themselves to tolerate a degree of uncertainty to start to learn new things? I think another aspect of the group I attended was that the members decided that was something they wanted to do and we had ownership. I would guess that would also be an issue with any initiative tomwhat extent is the purpose “owned” by everyone-particularly in the definition of problems they would like to see solved. I recently watched a learning zone programme about BP going through a very similar process in taking risks to learn new things which I thoughtb was quite inspirational, I could give you the referenc if you are interested

    Derek Adams

  7. Action Learning etc

    This is a really important issue, and I can see that you have some useful ideas already from the other contributors.

    I’d like to endorse the use of the Action Learning approaches. I’ve used this with multi-functional groups of HR, IT and Finance staff to improve their personal effectiveness and their questionning and problem solving skills.

    I have also used it with a project with senior HR staff. The participant’s accountability to take forward a project from idea to evaluation with a good facilitator are central to the success of this approach in my opinion.

    Please give me a call if you would like to chat it over (01224 705326).

  8. Effective Problem Solving
    Joanne , Sorry for delay in responding (I have been away training folks in Effective Problem Solving!). You have already received some very sound advice. It is critical to start by developing an agreed definition of the problem , then analysing the problem to determine the cause/effect relationships before giving any thought to Solutions. You can find more info. at or contact me for some more detailed info. Good luck with your challenge.
    Regards , David Tooth 01252 723816


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