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RSC Level 2 Module 4: Problem Solving & Decision Making


Step 1) Overview: Step1) Overview: You and the people who work with you are constantly faced with challenges that they have to overcome as part of their work responsibilities. As a manager and a leader you are a role model of resiliency in the workplace constantly showcasing the use of problem-solving skills to deliver high-quality solutions.  You have to demonstrate the power of 7-Step problem-solving by showing the people you work with how this process is used to deliver robust solutions.  The power of this repeatable method is that it can be used in almost any workplace.


Step 2) Action Learning: Please watch the two videos below.

 The following video is a 4.5-minute segment in which Ed Muzio CEO of Group Harmonics, tells you how a leader owns the problem-solving process and uses it to solve problems and to teach others how to solve problems.  The 7-Step Process consists of (1)Define the Problem = What is the real problem? (2)Data Collection, determine what is going on? (3)Cause Analysis – answers the question “Why?” (4) Solution Planning & Implementation – can take some time (5) Evaluation of Effects – did it work? (6) Standardization – how widely can we use this solution? (7) Evaluation of Process – ask your team, “How did we do at problem-solving? How can we do it better next time”?  This is a universal problem-solving approach that can be used in almost any setting to improve your problem-solving skills.



The next video is a 5-minute segment that demonstrates how a typical “5-Whys” exercise can be used  in Step 3 ( Cause Analysis) of the 7-Step Method to drill down and refine the problem definition because most problems in the workplace are not what they seem to be at first glance.  An additional feature of the “5-Whys” exercise is that it can be used to engage team members and harness their unique skills and perspectives.



Step 3) Points to Ponder:

1) Have you tried to solve a problem and discovered that your “solution” does not solve the problem because it does not address the root cause of the problem?How did you remedy the situation?

2) The 7-Step Process is sometimes called Scientific Problem-Solving because it asserts the need for fact-based decisions that are designed to address the root-cause of the problem.How are problems solved in your workplace?Is it commonplace for experienced people in your workplace to take decisions based on hunches? Do you see formal use of the 7-Step frequently?

3) What lessons did you learn from this module?If you were to embrace the 7-Step and 5-Whys as your method for solving workplace problems, what challenges or obstacles do you expect to encounter?How would you overcome them?


Step 4) Interactive Discussion: After viewing Videos 1 & 2 and exploring the Points to Ponder check your calendar for the Interactive Discussion scheduled for this Module.  Go to the session prepared to discuss the lessons learned with others in your Rising Star cohort.  If you have any questions or need more information please send a message to


Step 5) Next Level (Optional): Read the Reference: “Root Cause Analysis: The Core of Problem Solving and Corrective Action ” by Duke Okes published by ASQ Quality Press (2009)  ISBN-13: 978-0873897648.

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