Step-by-step improvements

There were opportunities for me to secure a locker in the off the chance that one became available, however I was reluctant to follow the crowd and add to the problem and so I began to contemplate the problem and draw upon my lateral thinking to provide a solution that will best please all. After much contemplation and thought on the matter, the best possible solution came to me after noticing a couple of customers leaving the store and setting the alarms off with there shopping bags.

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The alarms are normally triggered by the off chance that a check out assistant hadn’t removed the security tag attached to an item of clothing or bottle of alcohol etc. The Solution!! The idea that I had proposed to the store manager to solve this problem of employees taking home locker keys was adding to the key the exact same security tags attached to items of clothing, the security tags used by Tesco were no larger than an ordinary key rings so attaching them to the locker keys wouldn’t be a burden on the person carrying them.

I proposed my ideas, along with all the dilemmas arising from the lack of lockers in the work place, and within 2 days I was commended for my creative efforts and received positive feedback. In my proposal I included all the issues surrounding the lack of lockers in the staff changing rooms, I provided them with my idea and the benefits it would have to carry out this change. I also listed some of the possible ramifications that may be present with this drastic change, these included;

The locker keys would all need to be replaced in order to attach the security tags, this would be achieved by management giving all employees a certain deadline as to when keys needed to be returned. This is a task that management would have to enforce on their employees this may cause conflict with a few employees due to them being reluctant to change etc. There would only be a small cost on Tesco’s behalf to provide the amount of security tags needed to fit every key, however this was only a small price to pay to ensure employees were not in a position to have to take possessions onto the shop floor.

The only other option that Tesco could have taken was to bring in more lockers to meet the growing demand, however I mentioned this in my proposal and explained that not only couldn’t the staff changing rooms accommodate more lockers, the problem wouldn’t have been solved. In the positive feedback given by my management at the time, they had expressed the fact that they had received several complaints from new members of staff having no space to store there personal belongings, and were in fact looking for possible solutions.

The management at the time were extremely grateful for the actions that I had taken and promised to keep me informed with any changes that will occur in the near future. A little over a month had passed and I was called into my section managers office and to my surprise, be informed that I had achieved the ‘Blue Flag of Excellence Award’ for my efforts with regards to the lack of lockers. This award was handed out to selected employees who had showed excellent initiative and hard work within the workplace. I was also informed that they had planned to carry out my idea with immediate effect.

On that same day notices were being placed around the staff changing rooms and cafeteria that all locker keys must be replaced within a week, and failure to do so would result in unopened lockers being opened by management with a master key and possessions inside being thrown away accordingly. A week had passed and positive results were already being shown, the lockers had all been tagged and dozens were available for employees beginning their shifts. And there was little dispute from members of staff in light of the new changes.

Theoretical Analysis of my Creative Problem Solving

In this next part of the assignment I will be reflecting upon my actions, ‘stepping back’ from the scenario that I found myself in at Tesco, and analysing all the reasons for the actions that I took. I will be using theoretical frameworks provided by authors in this particular field to help explain the reasons that I suddenly needed to find a solution to the problem I was faced with. By doing this I will hope to find out why it is that creative thinking and innovative solutions are suddenly triggered off and provided when certain individuals are faced with dilemmas.

Before the keys to the lockers were tagged, and the problem was still present I was surprised to see so few employees approaching management with there problems, this problem didn’t just affect me, I heard through the grape vine that this problem had been present many years before I joined Tesco.

This, I found very shocking, neither management nor employees could come to an agreement to resolve this problem, from this fact I draw upon the notion that the employees and management alike were in a state of ‘blindering’, this phrase was coined by Joseph T. Straub (2000) pp. 149, he stated that; “Blindering happens when people put artificial boundaries on their thoughts or actions, imagining barriers where there are none or assuming that obstacles can’t be removed or manoeuvred in some way. People can be blinded not only by their own mindset but also by policies, procedures, traditions and customs. That’s what makes change, particularly in the workplace, so difficult. ”

The idea of being ‘blinded’ is exactly the way in which some of my colleagues at Tesco responded to the escalating problem, instead of attempting to seek a solution they simply added to the problem. Most employees dealt with the problem as best as they can, and adapt to it, by carrying possessions onto the shop floor, or reserving a locker when one became available. Whilst the other employees at Tesco seemed to be blinded by the current system, the management, it seemed were thinking incrementally, they planned to make changes to the current system and make step-by-step improvements.

This was highlighted by the fact that they were contemplating on fitting more lockers to match the demand, instead what they should have done and what I did, was to move towards transformational thinking, replacing established frameworks and providing a different way of thinking. With transformational thinking, comes higher risk, however the management in this situation could also monitor the risk factor, if the new system didn’t prove to be beneficial then they could simply remove it and go back to the original method.