I spend significant time helping clients become proficient at identifying and solving key “issues.” The trick is to identify them early and tackle them before they grow out of control! Sounds basic, but often there’s confusion around what really constitutes an issue in pure business context.
Anatomy of an “Issue?”
You know them as the obstacles, barriers, challenges and opportunities in your business. They’re impactful and directly affect your ability to achieve your Vision. They’re the “itch” you need to “scratch.” But unfortunately, these itches are usually symptoms that never go away.
Part “Art” – Part “Science”
It would be nice if good issue solving could be captured in a simple formula, but unfortunately it takes practice and experience to reach maximum proficiency.
The “science” part originates from a proven issue solving methodology in the EOS process called IDS:
Identify (what are the real issues?)
Discuss (productive discussion around resolving the issues)
Solve (clear action/next steps to put the issue to rest)
The “art” part comes from your team’s ability to identify the most important issues needing attention and digging to their root. Rarely is the issue first stated at root level. It takes probing.
Lack of clarity is the #1 reason for ineffective problem solving. Take an issue tackled by one of my clients in a recent quarterly session. The issue on the “Issues List” was stated as: “Multiple complaints from Mike’s clients.” At first glance, the problem revolved around Mike’s inability to perform his job. But this team was sharp and quickly drilled down a few layers to reveal the deeper issue as “lack of real-time data for CSRs” (Mike was a customer service rep).
The system was simply not set up to provide Mike and the other CSRs with the information they needed to adequately address client complaints. Does that mean that Mike was off the hook? No, but it did identify a key barrier preventing him from performing his job.
As a result of good Issue Solving, the team focused on ways to fix a significant flaw in their CRM system, enabling all the CSRs do their jobs more effectively.
Your team’s ability to Identify and Solve key issues is your ultimate secret weapon. It takes relentless hard work and tenacity to master…but it’s worth it!
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