It was a Monday morning in July of 2017. My boss and I were staring at a list of non-compliances caused by our customers. “I need you to reduce the number of non-compliances” he said. “before the close of this year." 

At the time getting that list down to zero or anywhere close seemed next to impossible. The task was humungus. I did not know where to start and what the depth of the issue was. I was also a recent hire, hence had to establish key relationships.

I knew I had to at least try to solve the problem. So I laid out a map for the 5 months I had - a plan with hope to see results. It was something like this:

  1. Use 80/20 rule to identify the customers that caused the most impact (no. of non-compliances)

  2. Spend time with these clients to understand the root cause for their actions

  3. Make a list of reasons stated by clients

  4. Use 80/20 rule to identify the most impactful reasons

  5. Attack the most impactful reasons

By November, I had reduced the list to almost zero. My team was blown-away.

Creative problem solving is interesting, its agile and its custom. What is your opinion?

mrreliable's picture

Good job. Without knowing details, here are my impressions of major steps in your success story.

1. Your overal theme was to "establish key relationships."

2. The 80/20 rule is golden.

3. You understood that addressing the customers' needs was the solution to the problem.

This time it was creative problem solving. Next time it's going to be following a proven formula. You trusted your instincts and let loose your knowledge and experience. Perhaps most important, when you thought it was next to impossible, you pushed that thought out of your mind and you just started moving on it. No real plan, just movement. We have a phrase around our company that we use to work through when things seem to be overwhelming - Just Do Something. It's a great approach to avoid getting bogged down by a seemingly insurmountable task.