Sharing and building Solution Focused practice in organisations

Plan:Do:Check:Act. Examining Process Improvement in Solutions Focused

team building and leadership expert michael cardus

Plan:Do:Check:Act model originally credited to Shewhart 


Processing Team-Building Activities:

When facilitating a team through a challenge taking breaks to evaluate what is happening during the action and what is the teams next step proves useful.

Individuals on teams when involved in challenges are really close to the problem and taking a Plan:Do:Check:ACT (PDCA) break will create clarity and teach a model of action steps and solutions finding in real-time examples.

Here is how the model works;

Prior to the team-building activity…you (the facilitator) explain the PDCA model and explain that every 3-5 minutes you are going to pause the action act ask the questions that are in the model.  Even if the team is doing awesome every 3-5 minutes the action will stop and we will quickly go through the model.

Here is the model;


  • Revisit the goal.
  • Explore (quickly) one and only one, obstacle in our way of achieving the goal


  • In reference to the one obstacle choose one and only one action step that can move us closer to the goal.


  • Now that you have have done that one thing what worked?


  • If it worked; Can you do more and continue through the process again?
  • If it did not work; Have you stopped doing it and go through the process again.


Try it and let me know what happens.


michael cardus is create-learning

Inspired to write this post from reading Toyota Kata

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Comment by Hans-Peter Korn on March 16, 2011 at 10:34

Well, this Plan - Do - Check - Act circle is useful for simple an complicated situations, but for COMPLEX situations (in which the relationship between cause and effect can only be perceived in retrospect, but not in advance, the approach is to Probe - Sense - Respond and we can sense emergent practice, see this circle is appropriate only when it is very short (maybe from one day to about 2 weeks).


And "Plan" in complex situations (where relationship between cause and effect cannot be perceived in advance) is not a very appropriate approach. Snowden's Cynefin Framework (see link above) gives quite useful hints:

Simple: the approach is to Sense - Categorise - Respond and we can apply best practice.

Complicated: the approach is to Sense - Analyze - Respond and we can apply good practice.

Complex: the approach is to Probe - Sense - Respond and we can sense emergent practice.

Chaotic: the approach is to Act - Sense - Respond and we can discover novel practice.

Disorder: This is the state of not knowing what type of causality exists, in which state people will revert to their own comfort zone in making a decision.


In Project Management it turned out, that complex situations can be best handled based on "agile principles". See: and

The most popular framework for it is SCRUM, see


Cheers, Hans-Peter






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