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By ITS Education Asia

[Problem Solving Guide-Home]

Possessing good problem solving skills does not make people automatically use them to the benefit of the organisation. They need encouragement, support and guidance in applying them to the organisation's problems. This can be achieved through:

Commitment to Innovation

Reasons for bad decisions

Resistance to change has fallen dramatically over the past decade but many organisations are still reluctant to promote change actively as part of their business strategy. This is particularly true where it takes the organisation into new markets or requires high investment in new manufacturing plannor additional management services.

A commitment to innovation is essential to success in a competitive business world. All staff should be made aware of this commitment, which should be part of the organisation's policy, underpinning its business strategy and reflected throughout its operation. It should produce in individuals an expectation of high achievement through problem solving. This commitment can be reflected and supported in the following ways.


Systems and procedures

Students taking exam

As organisations grow they' develop more complex management structures which create hierarchies of responsi­bility and authority. Although this is important to the efficient management of the operation it can create barriers to people using their problem solving skills. There are several steps that can be taken to avoid these barriers while maintaining efficient management:

  • reduce the constraints imposed on individuals by making rules and normal procedures and practices more flexible
  • avoid anything which may frustrate an individual's attempts to apply their enthusiasm for problem solving
  • give individuals responsibility for their work and the way they complete it, so that there is less double checking and they have the freedom to develop more effective ways of working
  • provide systems which allow people to/see their ideas through from conception to execution
  • ensure that procedures for interdepartmental communication allow individuals access (when warranted) to the information and resources of departments other than their own
  • give authority to every member of staff to suggest solutions to other people's problems.


This is essential in promoting originality and innovation. Research has shown that many people who leave a company to develop their business ideas (entrepreneurs) do so because their attempts to do it within the company have been frustrated and not because their financial reward is insufficient. Their main incentive is achievement rather than money.

Although reward for good ideas can be given through promotion or as a bonus through suggestion schemes, it has proved more effective to create a new career structure for these individuals. This provides them with the resources and freedom to develop their ideas, together with prestige and salary increases.

Good communications

This ensures that all staff are aware of the information above. In addition it ensures that

  • all staff know the company's business objec­tives, such as expansion, new markets, and so on, so that they can apply their problem solving skills in contributing to its future success
  • individual successes are well known, so that others are inspired and encouraged
  • all levels of management know the importance of encouraging their staff to apply their skills to solving the organisation's problems and exploit­ing opportunities.

Company suggestion schemes can also encourage good problem solving, provided they are managed properly. The most effective system is where all staff are informed of specific problems which the company faces in reaching its business objectives, and are notified of the results of evaluation of the ideas that have been submitted. Quality circles are another way of encouraging staff tt contribute to the success of their organisation through problem solving.

Read the next article:  Style of management effect on problem solving

Dulwich College Singapore

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.

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