In continuation of these blog postings (From the Archives of a Common Sensei), volume 25 discusses how we approached Problem Solving during those early days (early 1990’s) while developing Toyota Industrial Equipment. The documents included here are pre-computerization and clearly demonstrate we didn’t need everything computerized – especially problem solving!  The attached documents are in their rough condition but, are actual examples of a systematic method used for problem resolution, particularly in the following areas:

On the document entitled Procedure for Problem Solving, we have provided the procedural flow guideline for problem solving, especially for Managers and other Leaders (of course in conjunction with all those affected).  On the slide marked Problem Solving Activity, we provide a look at the process used to evaluate and resolve problems and advance opportunities.

Additional documents included provide examples of the Kaizen Activity Report (before and after changes), the Kaizen Report Format, The Bi-Weekly Report of Activity, and the Implementation Schedule for Policy Management.  The Implementation Schedule for Policy Management is used to track the various tasks against established policies of Cost, Quality, Delivery, Safety, and Morale. Additionally, it keeps track of the method, target dates, person/in charge, and lays it out in a schedule for tracking simplification.

The documents in this volume of From the Archives of a Common Sensei we feel it is essential to stress that although the documents included here are not the prettiest, they are valued examples that can show you the basics of value-added problem solving (resolution).  Standardized use of these documents (or similar) will aid in the development of a true problem solving (love those opportunities) culture.  As your organization matures, it will become stronger because of standardized problem solving as described here.

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Is the truth worth telling?

In business and in pleasure we are faced each and every day with the question,  Should I tell them what I really think?  Whether it is a little thing or a big thing, we are put in position where we have to account for any number of unknown consequences of telling people the truth.  Sometimes it is a simple as the little white lie to answer the “how does this look?” question.  Sometimes it has a much bigger consequence like when a client, co-worker, or boss asks “what went wrong in there?” and you want to tell them it was their attitude or approach. I understand that there are a million ways that this conversation can go and that there are a million different circumstances.  I am just trying to reestablish where I draw the line and I could use the insight of some Common Sensei’s.  So please feel free to comment as well as filling out my survey.

For the record, I know I am too honest and often share my opinion even when not asked.