Problem-Solving Success Tip: Reward Prevention
by Jeanne Sawyer
Reward prevention. Although it’s generally understood that it costs more to deal with crises than to prevent them, many companies do not recognize and reward those who push past the symptoms to the root causes, preventing future occurrences. If you want to focus on prevention, be sure to reward those who do it successfully.
Part of the challenge is to be sure you know when a problem is prevented, the reward is earned and the investment in prevention pays off. Here are some ideas that may help:
• Define problems explicitly. If you’re starting from a crisis, fire-fighting situation, define the problem such that a complete solution must prevent future occurrences as well as deal with the immediate crisis. Recovering stability after a crisis is important but shouldn’t count as solving the problem.
• Include an impact statement in your problem definition. State as precisely as you can what the problem costs your company. This should include lost revenue, out-of-pocket expenses such as for key staff time or travel, etc. Demonstrate measurably the importance of the problem. Include not just the cost of a single incident (that’s the fire-fighting mode), but the ongoing cost of the problem.
• Use measurable success criteria to define a complete solution. Doing this underlines the problem impact, but also gives everyone an objective way to determine when the problem is really solved. This in turn provides the opportunity for rewarding the problem-solvers.
Copyright 2007. Jeanne Sawyer. All Rights Reserved.
Jeanne Sawyer may be contacted at http://www.sawyerpartnership.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeanne Sawyer is an author, consultant, trainer and coach who helps her clients solve expensive, chronic problems, such as those that cause operational disruptions and cause customers to take their business elsewhere. These tips are excerpted from her book, When Stuff Happens: A Practical Guide to Solving Problems Permanently
. Find out about it, and get more free information on problem solving at her web site: http://www.sawyerpartnership.com/.