I Hate Problem Solvers

Three true stories:

1.  A senior IT executive for a bank has an office in Manchester but works regularly in the London head office.  Whenever he visits London he spends 15 minutes cooling his heels in reception because he can’t get security clearance to enter the building (despite the fact he has his own desk inside).

His PA eventually solved the problem by sweet talking the security team.

2.  A call centre manager regularly hired temporary staff over his budget allocation to cover phone volumes.

The finance team prevented this from happening by refusing to pay the supplier unless there was a finance signature on the requisition.

3.  A recruitment team ran out of company literature to send prospective employees.

They upped their normal order volume by a factor of 4 to prevent it happening again.

In each case a problem was solved; for a while.  No doubt the next incumbent of the IT role will see a fair bit of the London office reception and I know the recruitment team ended up throwing out a lot of their literature when the company re-branded itself.  The call centre became overwhelmed by calls.

The problem with fixing problems is that they come back, or manifest themselves in different ways.

How about some real process improvement, fixing the cause; not the symptom?

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