Peel the Onion to Solve Your Issues: 5 Disciplines to Work Through the Biggest Obstacles of Your Business

Posted on 17. May, 2017 by in Leadership

The ability to solve substantive business challenges could be the most important skill your leadership team must master. It can either propel your business forward at light speed or if done poorly, keep you orbiting through chaos and frustration.

It’s one of the most difficult skills to master, but when you do, magic happens!

I teach my clients a very powerful issue solving methodology called IDS  (Identify – Discuss – Solve) from the EOS process. But even as they comprehend the process, often they struggle to reach true proficiency.

In addition to the core elements of IDS, there are 5 disciplines that should help you work through your most difficult issues:

#1 Identify issues early

Issues identified early are opportunities, while issues identified late in the game are usually headaches you wish you never had. The key is to build a culture where you encourage employees to call out issues quickly, in the spirit of knocking them down before they spiral out of control.

#2 Tackle the toughest issues first

Too often, teams will address lightweight issues first, leaving the meaty issues for “later.” I had a client that left a significant personnel issue on their Issues List for almost a year. This led to bigger problems, including 2 key employees leaving because the problem employee was not handled. Attacking the toughest issues first will garner bigger benefits sooner.

#3 Solve “Issues” – not “Symptoms”

Sounds obvious, but too often teams jump right into discussion without truly understanding the issues they are trying to solve. If you don’t dig deep to unravel the onion, you may be solving “symptoms” instead of the root issue.

#4 Avoid tangents

I can’t tell you how many times I have observed clients trying to solve problems only to get side tracked, discussing this…debating that…and quickly getting off track. The key is to stay focused on the defined issues (see #3 above) and swiftly recognize when the conversation is leading you down a rabbit hole.

#5 Clearly state actions and who’s accountable for each

It’s not uncommon for a team to come up with good solutions, but then fall short in execution. This is typically because they don’t clearly identify the follow up steps and assign clear accountability to get them done. Don’t miss this step. It may seem obvious, but lack of clarity, accountability and follow through are common reasons for lack luster results.

The IDS process will serve your leadership team well, but don’t forget to also apply these 5 disciplines to get through your issues quickly and more effectively.

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