Kick Start on Problem Solving

From the Ask Tom mailbag –

Comment from yesterday’s post about the Open Door:
Right on! Only one more simple thing that will make it perfect — you hit a bit on it but I will expand as it works wonders. Put a sign up that says No Questions – in other words when you come to my office, don’t ask a question, tell me the issue and tell me what you intend to do. I will either say ok or we will discuss if I think it necessary. People come to you mindlessly and ask questions, you answer them thinking you are helping, they leave your office without taking ownership of the results – you told me to do this – they learn nothing and they feel you want them to come to you with all questions, because you don’t trust them to do the right thing. It is a vicious cycle. Simply, don’t answer any more questions.

Response:
I saw this on a manager’s desk, a little sign sitting by a pad of pre-printed 3×5 sheets. The sign said –

  • I know you have a question, but before we discuss it, please take this sheet and meet me in the conference room in ten minutes.

And on the pad of pre-printed 3×5 sheets –

  1. What’s the problem?
  2. What’s the cause of the problem?
  3. What are the alternative solutions?
  4. What is the best solution?

So, what do you think happened when the manager met the team member in the conference room?

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