Work Culture and Problem Solving

Any business will encounter problems. These can range from daily inconvenience to major, global upsets, and all of them will arrive on the same doorstep. It then comes to the teams at hand, in the business, to carry out a system to arrive at a solution. It can come down to a carefully constructed set of decisions made by executives or one plucky worker’s gut instinct as to how the problem will be solved.

To avoid any disastrous hold-ups or split-second fast acting in bad faith, the business needs a proper culture to help form a system of problem solving. How a business handles itself in the moments with no problems will help guide its employees at all levels on how to solve a problem when it does happen.

Work Culture is Success Culture

Whether a workplace is integrating Lean or TPS, or if they are in the process of adopting these models, each workplace will have its own differences that stand apart from the ideal model. These differences often come in the form of, and are propagated by, its employees. All employees will eventually stray away from the standard “model” of what the business wants them to be, for better or worse. But while at work, they will be expected to follow the rules, guidelines and examples set forth before them.

Work culture dictates how people act and react while on the job. This amounts to every interaction, every workflow procedure, and every moment of spare time employees find on their job. How they approach these things will reflect in how they approach a new problem. Improper training or lack of responsibility can negatively impact a work culture. Solving problems with work culture should be the first problem a work culture solves.

Positive Traits Hypotheses

There are many traits which can make up a strong work culture. A research study attempted to find some observable traits that should lead to higher efficiency through implementation of Lean transformations:

Encouraging Open Expression
Allow and encourage workers to discover problems on their own and report them on their own. This ensures that problems will always be reported early, when they can be approached with minimal risk.

Taking Individual Initiative
Allow and encourage individual action to be taken to help develop countermeasures.

Collectivism/ Teamwork
Emphasizing the value of working as a team. This makes it easier for individuals to come to a consensus about the countermeasures they develop.

Goal Alignment/Unity

Allow the formation of unions in the effort of solving problems if all sides align with the same goal.

Prevent the open sharing of individual views and ideas or emotional rhetoric in the place of developing problem solving systems.

How upper management and higher level employees receive and react to the decisions of employees at lower levels who have developed the problem solving methods.

Given the circumstances of the business, these traits can either help solve problems, or if poorly implemented, may end up causing new ones.

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