Collaborative Problem Solving

in Business Management
Problem Solving

The problem management process can easily end up in conflict, but the challenge for every team is how this problem is solved.

The difference between a high performance team and a dysfunctional is team is their approach towards collaborative problem solving.

12 Steps to Collaborative Problem Solving

The following 12 steps procedure can be used to resolve problems that arise within a group of people and to implement a solution.

Step 1. Organizing for collaborative problem solving.

When attempting to resolve conflict the team needs to be structured appropriately for each phase of the problem resolution procedure.

Step 2. Facilitative leadership.

In conflict resolution management the role of a team leader is to act as a group facilitator among team members ensuring that all parties concerned can express their concerns clearly.

Step 3. Comprehensive tuning-in.

To solve problems all the members concerned need to have a clear picture of the situation. The third step refers to disseminating background information so that everyone is aware of the current situation.

Step 4. Full problem analysis.

The fourth step towards the problem management process entails a thorough analysis of the problem; its roots and its consequences and how it affects the parties concerned.

Evaluating both sides of the situation yields a full picture of the current problem.

Step 5. Agreed objective setting.

To solve conflict and achieve a win-win situation everyone needs to be objective including the individuals who are involved in the conflict.

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What needs to be achieved during the problem solving session is to be clearly stated by the leader/facilitator.

Step 6. Systematic information collection.

The sixth step to collaborative problem solving is assembling all information related to the problem and exploring all the different point of views and aspects of the difficulty.

Step 7. Identifying creative solutions.

Next think of all possible solutions. This step is all about creativity and innovation towards problem solving.

At this stage there is no need to evaluate whether the solutions are doable. Brainstorming possible solutions will assist the decision maker to opt for the best win-win solution.

Step 8. Clear decision making.

The leader and facilitator’s role is to be clear about which solution is deemed as the most appropriate. The leader needs to be firm when making the decision of which solution to try first.

Step 9. Considered implementation.

The best route to problem management is to rope in everyone concerned. At this stage the problem solver needs to explain the team’s tasks and objectives to implement the chosen solution.

It is important that all team members know their specific roles in order to make progress.

Step 10. Achieving collaboration.

Involving team members and other stakeholders in the chosen solution ensures that everyone concerned will collaborate and be motivated to implement the solution.

Step 11. Celebration of progress.

An effective leader ensures that positive feedback is given to all team efforts. Monitoring progress and highlighting positive achievements motivates team members.

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Step 12. Review to improve.

The 12-step problem management process is a learning procedure. Once one problem is solved the team can learn from past experiences and review the process to identify possible improvements.


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