Collaborative Problem Solving: A Systems Thinking Approach
Had a standup meeting in the hall lately? Many companies are finding that's not a bad approach for collaborative problem solving. Taking a systems thinking approach to the complex problems in organizations is now very much a requirement.
“The world is changing too fast…Old fashioned ‘problem-solving’ no longer works.” – Marvin Weisbord, Productive Workplaces. In a world where change is constant and the pace of change constantly increasing, the traditional approach of having experts go off to solve problems is not enough to deal with the complexity of the issues. Instead, experts are having to join with everybody else in learning how to solve whole handfuls of problems at once, to make improvements systemically.
In his groundbreaking book The Fifth Discipline, Peter Senge refers to “the staggering potential of collaborative learning – that collectively we can be more insightful, more intelligent than we can possibly be individually. The IQ of the team can potentially be much greater than the IQ of the individuals.”
It’s true. In spite of what you learned in elementary school, 2+2 really does, under the right conditions, equal more than 4. Just putting a group to work on a problem, without the right skills, mindsets, and conditions, is clearly not enough. Disasters such as 3 Mile Island and the Challenger space shuttle demonstrate that “groupthink” is a common risk.
The right conditions include ensuring the group has the right skills, tools, and practices in place and uses an effective process to address problems. Building the capability for Collaborative Problem Solving in your organization helps you achieve important benefits:
Collaborative Problem Solving Training highlights:
NOTE: Collaborative Problem Solving may be tailored for intact teams, key team leaders, or for large group problem solving.
Collaborative Problem Solving Methodology
Participants in Collaborative Problem Solving spend most of their workshop time in practices with coaching and feedback. They bring their own real situations to use in the practice sessions and gain insight and skills through customized exercises, case studies, and simulations.
Collaborative Problem Solving Customized Solutions
To ensure that training is not just an “event,” but instead produces enduring results, we customize Collaborative Problem Solving to fit your unique situation, business strategy, culture, and people. After discussion with you and other experts within your organization, we select the emphasis, specific skills to be developed, key learning points, exercises, and case studies for practice to create a solution tailored just for you.
Collaborative Problem Solving Applications
The following are some of the ways our clients have used custom versions of Collaborative Problem Solving: