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Using Tiered Accountability to Develop a Problem-Solving Culture

Aaron Burnell, Vice President of Continuous Improvement, Creation Technologies, Hollis, NH, USA

Co-Speaker: Jeffrey Porada

Keywords: Problem Solving, Culture, Leadership

Industry: Manufacturing

Level: Intermediate

Abstract

Solving problems should not be the responsibility of engineering or management alone, solving problems should be the responsibility of everyone. But how are you create a culture that truly cultivates engaging everyone in solving problems? Simply saying “everyone should feel empowered to solve problems” won’t work. That isn’t enough. You need a culture where people come to work each day, share the things that are not working, and they quickly get fixed. People need to experience it themselves, every day. You need to create a culture where problems are not acceptable and not allowed to stick around until tomorrow. You need to create a culture that truly values solving problems.

But you do that? How do you create that culture? In my opinion, the best possible way to create this problem-solving culture is through the process of Tiered Accountability. Tiered Accountability is a series of daily stand-up meetings, with the purpose of identifying problems and resolving them with urgency. Metrics are tracked either on an hourly or daily basis, to identify problems. These problems become today’s opportunity to improve. Actions are assigned or escalated; quickly aligning everyone on the priorities for the day. Through the daily support of leadership, and the clear accountability provided by this process, barriers are removed, problems are solved, and people can work efficiently and effectively; confident that if another problem should arise it will be solved quickly. As a result, the organization develops a problem-solving culture supported by the daily actions of its people.


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