A Roadmap for Building Deep, Organization-Wide Problem-Solving Capabilities

Presented By:

Karen Martin

Learning Objectives:

  1. How to generate better problem resolution via a questions-based approach to PDSA.
  2. How to fully “own” the various hats effective problem-solving coaches wear.
  3. How to use A3 reports more effectively during the coaching process—and to build critical skills that go beyond problem-solving.
  4. How to spread problem-solving capabilities across an organization that honors the need for both breadth and depth.
  5. How to mitigate the cultural issues that MUST be addressed before effective problem-solving can take hold in an organization.


In this activity-based workshop, participants will learn new ways to accelerate and deepen their own problem-solving capabilities and their coaching skills. Karen will introduce a question-based problem-solving model that can be layered over PDSA, DMAIC, or any other methodology and generates far deeper learning and results than non-question-based models. She will also dive deeply into the role of the A3 report and the “fine line” role coaches play between developing people and assuring that results to attract and retain senior executives interest in building problem-solving capabilities. Finally, Karen will share real-world models of spreading problem-solving capabilities that guarantee success.

Facilitator Bio:

Karen Martin and her team at TKMG, Inc. provide Lean transformation and business performance improvement support to industry, government, and the not-for-profit sector. Karen’s broad understanding of operations design and business management stems from her experience building the operational infrastructure for several rapid-growth operations that each grew into multi-billion dollar companies. Her expertise also includes a keen understanding of customer value, which she honed while serving in sales and marketing roles. She also has extensive experience with legal and regulatory issues. As a consultant, she’s worked with organizations in a broad range of industries including construction, distribution, energy, financial services, government, healthcare, insurance, manufacturing, military, publishing, research and development, and technology.


Karen’s quality and process orientation evolved from her early career as a scientist (B.S. Microbiology, Pennsylvania State University) and was formally developed while serving as the Director of Quality for an organization that managed the healthcare for 22 million Americans, and the Director of the Institute for Quality and Productivity at San Diego State University, where she oversaw the university’s sell-out Lean Enterprise and Quality Business Practices programs. Her passion for organizational learning and workforce development led her to a graduate program in adult learning (M.A. Education, California State University, Bakersfield).

As a consultant, Karen is known for her keen diagnostic skills and rapid-results approach to meeting client needs. A skilled change agent, Karen builds energy within work teams by helping them focus an organization’s key performance goals—faster delivery of higher quality products and services at lower cost—while simultaneously building organization-wide problem-solving capabilities and boosting employee engagement. Clients give Karen and her team high marks for teaching them to fish for themselves so that they become self-sustaining as quickly as possible.

Karen is a highly-rated speaker who wows her audiences with high-energy presentations containing practical takeaways. She’s the author of two Shingo award-winning books: The Outstanding Organization and Value Stream Mapping,. Her latest book, Clarity First, was a finalist in 800-CEO-READ’s 2018 Business Book of the Year. She’s also the co-author of The Kaizen Event Planner and Metrics-Based Process Mapping .

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