Talking the Problem-Solving Lingo

Do you all talk the same lingo at work? You know, after you’ve all completed training that introduced a new terminology, do you all use it for the next few weeks or months? Language can be effective in building new ideas and behaviours into company culture, and it helps if the terminology is consistent throughout the systems used and processes followed.

However, there are times when new terminology is introduced, it can seem like half the company is speaking in another language, so we must take care to be inclusive and ensure everyone understands.


As an example, a decade ago the term CAPA was regularly seen in association with quality management systems, yet with the latest version of ISO 9001 this term slowly disappeared, and with the introduction of ISO 45001 we are focusing on incidents and nonconformity and corrective actions.

A good incident and nonconformance reporting system should also be a problem-solving system, walking management through the following 5 key steps:

  1. Identify
  2. Contain
  3. Understand
  4. Resolve
  5. Share

When everyone in the organisation understands what these steps are and how to fulfil them, they can be more effective in preventing dangerous or embarrassing repeat problems, and proactive in identifying better ways to operate.


There are many incident investigation and problem-solving tools and techniques available, and any can be effective when followed properly. Two essentials to implementing effective systems for capturing and resolving problems is to build problem solving skills in your team and to be consistent with the use of terminology so that everyone is talking the same lingo.