a
M

Problem Solving Training

Jarrad Asquith
Kaitlyn Loft

By Jarrad Asquith, Faciliator, and Kaitlyn Loft, Learning Designer,
26 April 2024

Thinka’s ‘Solve Problems’ Workshop

Problem solving starts with problem identification. In this world of ‘what’s our solution?’, we often rush into problem solving mode without first diagnosing the problem properly. Diagnosis involves diverging to see possibilities, critical thinking, synthesis and an ability to validate potential solutions. It’s so much more than just finding an answer to a question.

What teams will explore

  • How to spend time in problem identification
  • Design thinking: diverging and converging
  • Critical thinking; challenging bias and assumptions
  • Synthesis to arrive at potential solutions
  • How to validate solutions and make decisions

What teams will apply

  • Tools like the ‘5 Whys’ for diagnosing problems
  • Divergent and convergent thinking skills
  • Models for improving critical thinking
  • Methods for validating potential solutions
  • A framework for deciding on a solution
Workshop Purpose

Problem solving skills are essential for the future of work. When you have a team that is proficient in critical thinking skills, problem-solving and assessing a range of potential solutions, you’re better able to achieve outcomes. In this increasingly complex world of work, employees are faced with challenging situations more regularly and need problem solving skills to deal with these. The purpose of this workshop is to prepare teams with problem solving methods for engaging in root cause analysis and generating solutions.

Working with organisations in Melbourne, Sydney and across Australia, we know that teams are dealing with multiple challenges and complex problems in this modern work environment. Here are a few of them:

  1. Technology and rise of AI: Advancements in technology and the way we work will automate more manual work, changing job roles and what organisations consider valuable. Employees with skills in problem solving, creative thinking and critical thinking will become increasingly desirable. 
  2. Complex world of work: Living in a ‘VUCA’ (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) environment means that teams need a problem solving process to cope with a changing environment that presents constant challenges. Covid recovery, economic instability and hybrid working have all changed the way we manage work-life. 
  3. Multiple priorities: Balancing work responsibilities is challenging but adaptable employees, who deal with problems as they arrive, are better able to flex across different tasks. Strong problem solving skills give employees an edge – they find solutions quickly to resolve issues so they can stay focussed. 
  4. Flatter hierarchies: More and more, organisations are becoming flatter with employees having more responsibility and autonomy than ever before – especially in hybrid working environments. Team members are expected to take ownership for managing projects and solve problems themselves. These skills help with better project management and strengthen teamwork. 
  5. Increased stakeholder engagement: Employees are managing more complex networks than ever before in this highly connected, digitised world. Employees will need effective problem solving techniques to make sure relationships stay strong and to get the best results from collaboration.

Overall, these challenges can make it more difficult for teams if they’re not problem solvers and critical thinkers. However, with the right support such as Problem Solving Training, coaching sessions, and support from leaders, employees can thrive in this complex world of work.

Workshop Benefits

With the help of Problem Solving Training, skills that teams can put in place to enhance performance include:

  1. Critical thinking skills: When employees seek out information, evidence and data, they make better decisions. Instead of moving too fast into ‘solution mode’, they properly assess problems or challenges to decide on an action plan. Critical thinkers call out bias and are willing to challenge decisions when there is contrary data.
  2. Problem-solving: New situations, projects and ever-changing work environments call for constant problem solving. Team members are better equipped to deal with ongoing change when they have strong skills in problem definition, assessing the root cause of a problem, and sharing their learning experiences with each other.
  3. Becoming active learners: Active learning is a critical skill for employees in today’s work environment, as they often need to upskill quickly to keep up with current trends and expectations. Employees can develop their active learning skills by keeping an open mind, seeking out new opportunities, and developing a range of learning strategies.
  4. Perspective taking: Conflict can arise when there are different perspectives in the workplace, but employees who know how to problem solve can overcome these. Team members improve perspective taking by staying calm and objective in situations, truly listening to others, and working collaboratively to find solutions.
  5. Decision making: Team members make well-considered decisions with confidence when they’re flexible and see all points of view. Employees can build this capability by brainstorming and working through different scenarios, researching best practice, and by weighing up both positive and negative impacts.

By developing competencies in these practical skills, teams can grow problem solving capability and manage complex challenges in the workplace.

Workshop FAQs

What is Problem Solving Training?

Our Problem Solving workshop is specifically designed for teams to develop skills in creative problem solving, critical thinking and decision-making. It aims to provide participants with the skills, tools, resources and confidence necessary to manage increasingly complex work environments. Our experienced facilitators have worked with many Australian organisations and draw from case studies and shared experiences to offer meaningful advice, practical strategies, and stories to learn from.

Why should my organisation offer Problem Solving Training?

Being part of Problem Solving Training can help teams to improve their capability in problem definition and solution finding. It can also help participants to build an understanding of the role of divergent and convergent thinking and design thinking methodology. The workshop experience is designed to help teams learn from each other and see how they might all bring different and unique skill sets to problem solving.

Who can attend Problem Solving Training?

Problem Solving Training is designed for teams. The skills we focus on build competency in perspective taking, critical thinking and collaboration to find feasible solutions. However, this training can be easily customised for emerging leaders, frontline leaders, or middle management as well. A team leader might want to be involved in the session with their team too.

Is Problem Solving Training only available in person?

Problem Solving Training can be delivered in an in-person, virtual or hybrid format; depending on the organisation’s set-up. It is typically made up of strategies, discussions and a series of activities to support on the job application. The training can be complemented with coaching sessions with a Thinka coach. Coaching plays an important role in challenging old behaviours and building fresh confidence and capability in each of the participants. Organisations might also opt for a blended program that makes use of eLearning modules and other forms of media.

Workshop Case Study

Capability Development Program with Carlisle Homes

 

1. What was the objective?

Over the course of a 12-month professional development cycle, we worked towards improving the capability of leaders and team members using a range of workshops that targeted a specific skillsets related to problem solving. These skills were in line with the business needs and the latest data out of the World Economic Forum’s ‘skills for the future’.

2. How did we do it?

Carlisle Homes’ professional development approach meant employees could opt in or be nominated by their leader to attend workshops. Each workshop focussed on critical thinking skills, mindset and adapting to change, data-driven decision-making and innovation. The workshop formula was activity-based and used real work case studies to give a reference for applying the learning. This training course was aligned to the career development approach Carlisle Homes had designed to prepare their people for the ‘future of work’.

3. How was it integrated and what were the results?

The learning was integrated through the use of post-workshop application tasks. The main impact was seen in the improvement of Carlisle Homes’ data culture, with each leader being able to make more informed choices and embrace change. Employees were better able to see trends and adapt to new ways of thinking and working.

The content in this workshop got me thinking about how I can commit to implementing both divergent and convergent thinking instead of rushing to a solution.

Solve Problems participant, PHD

Workshop Outline

Delivery Options

In Person Workshop

Virtual Workshop

See Demo

Key Outcomes

1. Team members who can diagnose problems correctly.

2. Team members who know how to think divergently and see possibilities.

3. Team members who can welcome and work through ambiguity.

4. Team members who can synthesise findings.

5. Team members who can validate potential solutions.

Target Audience

Teams
Leaders

Learning Approach

Experiential and application based learning

Workshops to pair me with:

Enhance Collaboration

It’s about a team’s ability to work together, explore problems and find solutions.

Collaboration Skills for Teams

Resolve Conflict

‘Digging in’ and exploring what’s really going on with people.

Build Conflict Resolution Skills

Our in-person workshops maximise opportunities for robust conversation, experiential activities and intensive group work. This is no ‘death by PowerPoint’ experience – our facilitators are skilled in presenting and leading immersive experiences that get the most out of people. Supported by multimedia, attractive takeaway pages and practical strategies for using back on the job – our in-person workshops build a formidable bridge between exploration and application. We have a 10 person minimum for an in person workshop.

Q

Our virtual workshops breathe fresh life into the online experience with their almost ‘radio show’ feel. Our expert facilitators use a combination of multimedia, questioning techniques and break out activities to target micro-skills – with a focus on application. Supported by an online platform hosting custom-built workshop materials, participants can be assured of a lively, dynamic session that has a distinct bias to action. We have a 6 person minimum for a virtual workshop.

Q
Q
This audience includes team members who are developing skills to perform their role with greater capability. The skills are geared toward increasing personal and professional effectiveness and are transferable across different contexts – making them last as they move through their career development journey.
Q
This audience includes ‘middle management’ leaders who support team members in capability building. The skills are geared toward increasing leadership effectiveness and driving performance in team members in modern work contexts. These skills are flexible and built to grow with individuals as they evolve in their leadership journeys.
Q

Thinka believes that every learner needs to walk away being able to do something differently once they’ve engaged in a learning solution. The real power is in every individual applying their learning. Our behaviour-based methods, supported by the latest research, are key to making the steps for change relevant and realistic.

Thinka supports with methods like storytelling, experiential activities or rich questioning, but ultimately, we know the integration between solution and real world is the most crucial part of the learning experience. That is why we look for ways to ‘build a bridge’ between the solution we provide and what happens back out on the job.

Whether it’s an application template, a set of strategies, some tips or a ‘how to’ model – we work hard to provide every learner with not just information but the tools they need to make a real difference.

Q