John McCullough: Pragmatic Problem-Solving at Sharp Services

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on 12-07-23
In the People Solve Problems podcast, hosted by Jamie Flinchbaugh, John McCullough, Director of Continuous Improvement at Sharp Services, shares his expertise and experiences in problem-solving within the pharmaceutical industry. John, a global continuous improvement leader, strategic thought partner, and change agent, also extends his lean journey expertise to various other industries, achieving measurable performance and people development objectives. During the episode, John outlines his personal problem-solving process, emphasizing the importance of clearly defining manageable problems, ideally supported by data. This clarity helps in making problems measurable and actionable. He also discusses the significance of understanding the problem’s depth to uncover actionable root causes, while avoiding the trap of focusing on irrelevant details. John advocates for a brainstorming environment where all ideas are welcomed, facilitating exploration of potential solutions. He underscores the value of conducting experiments to test these solutions, learning from both successes and failures. This approach underpins his belief in continuous learning as an essential component of problem-solving. Reflecting on an instance of poorly executed problem-solving, John highlights the learning opportunities such instances provide. He shares how missteps can be instructive in refining approaches and strategies, emphasizing the need for balance between speed and thoroughness. Additionally, John touches on his method of assessing individuals’ skills and capabilities in problem-solving. He considers different factors like mindset and readiness, which play a vital role in tailoring his coaching and support effectively. This individualized approach is crucial in enhancing problem-solving skills. To learn more about John McCullough and his work, visit Sharp Services’ website at and connect with him on LinkedIn at These platforms provide deeper insights into his expertise and contributions to the field of continuous improvement.