Communication Impacts Real Problem Solving

Editorials this week in Bloomberg about jobs appeared to be somewhat grim but maybe they weren’t.

An op-ed in from Peter Orszag talked about the number of jobs being advertised but not being filled  Some of the reasons he cited were the jobs did not pay enough, a lack of interest by the organizations to fill the positions and the skill level needed was not being met by the applicants.

An editorial also this week in Bloomberg discussed robots replacing blue collar jobs  It talked about the use of robots and automation instead of workers actually performing the jobs.  This is already occurring but the editorial also mentioned the skills issue. It said communications and problem solving were necessary skills.  Maybe that goes along with one of the reasons for jobs not being filled.

We are in a changing world for both employers and employees.  CALMC has always encouraged the importance for groups to look at new ways of doing things.  It’s important for groups to communicate with each other and to solve problems together.  The philosophy CALMC has had is not one is as smart as all working together.

The last few weeks the blog has talked about communication to help eliminate conflict.  Conflict can prevent real problem solving from occurring.  Communication in generalities can also eliminate real problem solving from occurring.  Many times in groups someone is absolutely sure a problem is going on and will mention something is happening often.  As facilitators, we ask how often is it happening.  The word “often” can have different meanings for people.

In order to truly problem solve, we have to have specific information so we tell groups bring back the specific occurrences (instead of the term “often”) so we can determine how the problem is happening.  It’s annoying to some but those who find out sometimes realize there actually isn’t a problem.  They just thought there was which also helps to build relationships when they find out nothing was happening.

This week on Facebook, an exercise is posted for groups to do.  It’s a list of words and each person in the group is to specify a number from 0-100 that defines that word.  There probably will be lots of variances in the number for each word.  That’s the point – those words tend to be vague especially in problem solving situations and communication.  The more specific we can be when communicating the better at problem solving we can be.  Try the exercise with your group.  Let us know what you find out.  Don’t forget to like us on Facebook!

About CALMC Blog

Columbus Area Labor-Management Committee is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to involving employers and employees to preserve jobs, resolve workplace issues, and promote labor-management cooperation. Visit our website at
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