As organizations grow, so do their issues. It makes sense. If you’re clear about the vision of your organization, you can set a path to reach it, but along the way you face barriers, challenges, and obstacles. What sets great organizations apart is their ability to solve issues and break through these barriers.
My clients embrace the concept of maintaining “issue lists,” i.e. a “parking lot” of all the obstacles and barriers that must be addressed at some point. The beauty of it is that by “parking” issues, you can be confident you will address each at the right time. This eliminates “squeaky wheel syndrome” where priorities are established by the degree of annoyance rather than their true significance.
Having an ongoing list of issues is not the same as a list of tasks that need to get done. Issues are the barriers that stand between you and your vision. They typically need clarity and healthy debate to come to the right answers. The right answers are then supported by a series of action items going forward: the to-do’s.
For example, a client’s leadership team has done an exceptional job identifying and solving issues. One of the items “parked” on their list was “staff alignment to core values.” When the team focused on this issue, they were able to come up with a two powerful action items to resolve it:
Add core values to the hiring and employee review processes.
Schedule quarterly “discussions” with all staff to reinforce the meaning and importance of their core values.
The key to reaching your vision is to become great problem solvers. This starts with clear identification of the issues, followed by focused discussion and debate to reach the right answers. The right answers manifest themselves as a series of action items (to-do’s) that will systematically eliminate the issues forever.
Now that’s a formula worth taking action on!
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