Effective issue solving is a huge factor in running a successful business. Some company issues seem monumental and can stifle progress because of their perceived magnitude.
All issues can be solved.
This is where leaders can get tripped up. Sometimes the BIG issues are so big, they’re just too overwhelming and hard to address. They don’t feel manageable, so they’re ignored until they grow out of control and become a full-blown fire.
Be careful – you might be solving symptoms
It’s important to understand the difference between a symptom and the real (root) issue. Symptoms are hard to pin down because they’re usually vague. Once you can identify the real issue at its root, then you can actually go about discussing and solving.
Get to the root of the issue as quickly as possible
One of my clients recently added a new issue for the leadership team call “Jim’s behavior in front of clients.” Jim is an employee who provides onsite accounting services for one of their customers – a bar & restaurant. After finishing his work, and after hours, he stayed at the bar and became visibly intoxicated. He was not “drinking on the job,” but clearly was not holding a professional demeanor in front of the client. When his manager got wind of this, he was furious – so it landed on the Issues List.
While addressing it during the Issues Solving (IDS) segment of their Level 10 meeting, they got off track. Their discussion was all about the symptoms. Finally after 25 minutes, the Director of Operations interrupted and asked, “What do we need to solve today”? This helped to re-frame the issue as “professional expectations for our onsite employees” and then further clarify the root cause as “lack of clear expectations for offsite personnel.”
They concluded by agreeing to update the accountability chart and review with all employees, especially those working at client sites.
An issue is just an issue, regardless of size. We just need to break them down and get to the root before we can truly solve them.
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