Are You Solving the Wrong Issues? A question for CEOs and Team Leaders

Are You Solving the Wrong Issues? A question for CEOs and Team Leaders

Are You Solving the Wrong Issues _ Anderson Lear Consulting

Written by Connie Chwan

The most common challenge leadership teams encounter as they learn to IDS™ (Identify, Discuss, Solve) issues is that they move straight to discussion without identifying the root cause of the issue. There is only one difficulty with that approach – the issue is merely a symptom of what is truly happening. If you start discussing right away, you will most likely solve the wrong issue.

During a recent Quarterly session with a client, the team identified the three most critical issues on the Issues List, and then immediately started discussing the first issue. I let them go for a few minutes to see if they would self-correct, and then brought them back to step one: identify the real issue.

Identify the Real Issue Before Discussing

My client is a service company with a team of about 200 technicians. Their issue (symptom) was that they received several customer complaints about service delays with one particular technician. Their initial discussion focused on starting a disciplinary process with the technician.

When they refocused on identifying the root cause, a quick phone call to the technician’s supervisor revealed that the service delays were due to the need for a tool not routinely stocked on the service trucks. Since the technician did not have the tool, and didn’t know if the company would reimburse him if he purchased the tool, he returned to the shop and followed the process to acquire the item – thus causing a delay.

After a brief discussion about the real issue, the leadership team identified two solutions. They elected to provide each technician with a company credit card so the technicians could purchase a needed supply or tool to serve the customer well. This became a 7-day To-Do for the person in the Finance seat. The second solution became a To-Do for the person in the Operations seat: determine if the tool should become standard stock.

Avoid Recurring Issues

Had they not identified the real issue and moved forward with the disciplinary process, the company may well have lost a long-time, excellent team member. The root cause would not have been solved, and the issue would have reappeared at some point.

If issues are reappearing on your Issues List, slow down, dig in and make sure you have identified the real issue. You’ll save yourself valuable time and energy in the long run!

Next Steps