People Solve Problems


Every person in every function of every organization is involved in solving problems. They show up in your email inbox, in meetings, in your own work. They are strategic and tactical, mundane and breakthrough, easy and difficult. Most organizations want to, and need to, improve their people’s problem-solving efforts, and so they offer them tools, templates, and training. Yet this is not where the leverage for impact is found. People Solve Problems: The Power of Every Person, Every Day, Every Problem explores the real leverage to improve your problem solving. 


In the first section of the book, we explore the problem with problem solving, including both the value and limits of tools and templates. We also explore the marriage of problem solving and standards. Building on that start, People Solve Problems is built on four primary domains. After setting up the challenge, we start by exploring People-Centered Capabilities. These capabilities are tool agnostic, equally applicable to any chosen problem-solving method or no method at all. This includes a wide range of capabilities from creating problem statements to integrating intuition into problem solving. Next, we cover Problem-Solving Culture. These chapters outline the culture needed in the organization or the personal behaviors you must master to be successful in problem solving. The behaviors explored range from deliberately learning through problem solving to building transparency, vulnerability, and trust.  


In the third section, we dive into Success through Coaching. Problem solving is unlike other practices, training is incredibly insufficient, and coaching is the major driver of success. This section addresses the why, who, when, where, and of course the important how of coaching. Finally, we explore the Role of the Leader, whether the CEO or a team leader, in building an environment where problem solving can thrive. The leader must be the architect of their problem-solving systems, a shaper of culture, and a framer of problems. 


Problem-solving effectiveness is critical to success for both the problems you already know about and those you have not yet experienced. People Solve Problems will help you, and those you lead, to be more effective now and in the future. 

Jamie Flinchbaugh


As Founder of JFlinch, Jamie Flinchbaugh has helped purpose-driven leaders craft effective, resilient organizations at over 300 companies.  Leveraging more than 30-years of experience and helping build over 20 companies, Jamie collaborates with leaders and their teams to bridge capability, strategic, cultural, and systems gaps so that they can safely span potential pitfalls and have a purposeful impact on their organizations.


Jamie has helped leaders across a wide spectrum of industries including healthcare, utilities, technology, consumer products, and professional services, including Harley-Davidson, Intel, Mars, Amazon, Crayola, Fidelity, Whirlpool, among many others.


Jamie is the author of People Solve Problems, The Power of Every Person, Every Day, Every Problem and co-author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Lean, Lessons from the Road and is the co-host of the podcasts Lean Whiskey and Happy Heuristics.  He currently lives in Bucks County, PA with his wife of 24 years, Jill Triani.  Together they have three children, Emma, Jack, and Ben.

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Joan Tafoya

“Jamie's book is concise and useful throughout. You get what you need in a format that is immediately actionable. Lots of nuggets that really get to the point. The numerous ideas let you decide what would work best for your organization based on where it is at now. My favorite section was on coaching. Few books spend that much time on what good problem-solving coaching looks like and how to build good coaches."

Joan Tafoya
Director, Data Center Operations - Global

Shawn Patterson

"To outpace competition, it is a requisite skill that throughout an organization people can close the gap between where they are and where they want to be. That’s problem solving. “People Solve Problems” is an easy to grasp and holistic how-to guide to instill this essential skill set."

Shawn Patterson
Vice President
Environmental Management and Safety DTE

Nick Katko

"If you want to learn how to use lean problem solving methods this is the book to read. Jamie focuses on how people need to use the method and clearly explains how some companies get this wrong. He also explains that this is an approach that every company needs to apply in their own way, rather than it being a specific recipe. You will constantly refer back to this book."

Nick Katko
Author, Practicing Lean Accounting

Chris Burnham

“Jamie delivers an easy-to-understand approach to improve your organization’s problem solving skills in People Solve Problems. This book is a great desktop reference guide that I will definitely use in helping coach others to become better lean thinkers and problem solvers.”

Chris Burnham
Senior Lean Strategy Director

Tracey Richardson

"The key to an organization's success is engaging and involving people in their work! In order to measure our improvements, we must have standards to problem solve in all functional areas of an organization vertically and horizontally! Jamie has a vast amount of knowledge and experience he shares in the book in order to grasp the situation as a leader and influencer to coach and be present each day moving the needle towards operational excellence! I highly recommend this book!"

Tracey Richardson,
Author, The Toyota Engagement Equation

Nathan Holt

"Strong problem-solving organizations are much better suited to overcome growth challenges. Although problem solving is a fundamental human activity, we aren’t sufficiently equipped to effectively solve business problems. “People Solve Problems” reveals many valuable lessons for leaders seeking to build an army of problem solvers."

Nathan Holt
Global Organizational Excellence & Business Transformation Advisor - Ultimate Performance
Former Head of Continuous Improvement - Shell

Rebecca Snelling

" "People Solve Problems" is an outstanding book on advancing your organization. Too often when people begin learning problem-solving, they jump to the finish without taking the time to understand the depth and full value that problem-solving has to offer. This book very thoughtfully includes clarifications and distinctions around aspects that are often misunderstood or overlooked with problem-solving, as well as exposes it's real potential. In addition to teaching problem-solving, Jamie shows how to unlock that potential through using it to develop people, develop leaders, and create a problem-solving culture."

Rebecca Snelling
RS Consulting

Rick Foreman

"The title of Jamie’s new book really encapsulates the principle context of problem solving, “People Solve Problems.” I love the context of problem solving being about the pursuit of knowledge or even new knowledge. If we grow ourselves and our people through the process of problem solving, everyone wins. The quote of Vince Lombardi, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence,” represents the path of team problem solving through intentional coaching that pulls out the best in us and others. There’s way to many great insights to capture here, so I encourage you to begin phase one of growth, by digging into this study."

Rick Foreman
V.P. of Lean Development
Federal Heath

Matt Wrye

"After years of coaching and conducting problem solving, People Solve Problems was a bullseye in conveying what it takes to create a great problem-solving culture. Jamie conveys the thinking clearly and concisely. This makes reflection on my own methods easier to understand where to take action and how I might take that action. This is a book that will be referenced and reread over and over again to make sure I can glean everything out of it."

Matt Wrye
Lean Strategy and Implementation Manager

Jason Schulist

"Flinchbaugh has written a masterful book that puts the pieces of the problem-solving puzzle together. Building on the Hitchhiker's Guide to Lean, he reminds us of the iconic Learning Zone picture that encapsulates the balance between the science and the people side of addressing problems. "

Jason Schulist
VP, Operational Excellence

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Additional Books By Jamie Flinchbaugh

Hitchhikers do not travel a fixed path. They intentionally wander so they can learn and grow along the way. Embarking on the lean journey is similar, there are many roads on which to wander and no single one is right for all. “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Lean: Lessons from the Road” reveals the most critical lessons learned over the authors’ combined 30-plus years of exploring the lean highways.

Podcasts and Publications