Engaging the system primarily means that the proper stakeholders are solving the correct problem, identifying why that problem is being selected, and the overall purpose of the session. This creates a very valuable discussion that allows information beyond normal problem solving to properly frame the session.
In most problem solving sessions there is a problem definition discussion, but no effort to make sure they are solving the correct problem and how it connects to the organizational processes. This generally causes the solution to be more short term than long term.
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The SAW (System Analysis Workout) Process began to develop as organizations have requested methods to address lingering problems, cost reduction, communication issues, and market changes. Through the years, the process has been refined, adjusted, and modified to become a very effective and fast way to move from problem statement to solution.
In virtually every group that has used the SAW Process, a five to six figure difference in the bottom line was accomplished. In one organization, over fifty million was cut from operating cost by workers. Why does this process work? It is the combination of a series of best practices, many very simple, but when connected in this manner, become extremely powerful.
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SAW starts with a basic problem solving model. To this is added the Storyboard process, a visual flexible process of sorting ideas. Elements are then added that connect the problem to the system to ensure that the time spent is worthwhile. Familiar techniques such as brainstorming or lateral thinking, are used as well. To enhance the communication during the process, behavioral models such as the DISC, Ladder of Inference and Dialogue are used.
To ensure that the time is well-spent, a short pre-work questionnaire is used to make sure that proper stakeholders are engaged and that the problem is one that will deliver what is requested.
The solution requires follow-up and communication. A plan is included with accountability assigned to ensure completion.
After groups have been through the process a few times, the components that were used begin to become a part of the culture.
Once learned, the SAW Process components can be applied in many day-to-day applications. Portions of the process can be implemented without a formal session. Many of the questions asked in a session will begin to be asked daily.
We all solve problems and we use similar ways to do so. When a common problem solving process is used with teams and groups of teams, the common language becomes very powerful. The communication is enhanced because everyone is on the same page.