Not having any issues is a good thing, right?
The only business that doesn’t have issues is one that has already gone out of business. Having issues doesn’t spell doom for a company, but how a leader addresses them (or doesn’t) could. The first step in handling any problem is acknowledging that it exists. Do you know your issues?
Create an Environment That Accepts Conflict
Whenever a leader tries to say they don’t have issues, I have to wonder about their culture. Have they created an environment where people feel safe speaking up?
An environment where not only can employees speak up but leaders expect and encourage it can surface many root issues. Their teams should feel confident to say: “We have a problem here and I want to do something about it.”
This requires opening up Issues Lists so that everyone across your business has access to a list for their area. Sometimes a leadership team may need to address an issue. But the majority of the time, the team raising the issues should address them. After all, their people have the context to understand why they have an issue in the first place.
Once someone adds an issue to the list, then they need to do something about it.
Typically when leadership teams address issues, they spend most of their time discussing it instead of solving it. But the business needs them to work toward viable solutions. Teams may struggle to solve issues while trying to overcome the fear of conflict and personal ego. A lack of focus, discipline, or commitment can also factor in.
After all, how many meetings have you attended where people ask, “Didn’t we talk about this last week?”
Steps to the Issues Solving Track
The Issues Solving Track® overcomes these obstacles and helps leadership teams and departments get to the solution quickly.
The Issues Solving Track consists of the following steps:
Clearly identify the real issue. As many leadership teams find, the stated problem rarely represents the real problem. The actual issue typically hides a few layers down.
This process can get uncomfortable and involve a great deal of discussion. However, once you’ve identified the real issue at hand, you can move on to the next step to discuss it.
Leadership teams spend most of their time in this step when it comes to solving their issues. The discussion step gives everyone the chance to say everything they want to say about the issue. Everyone puts everything on the table in an open environment where individuals feel comfortable discussing it.
The final step in the Issues Solving Track solves the issues forever. The conclusion or solution usually becomes an action item assigned to someone to complete. Most action items end up on a To-Do List for completion within the next week or two. Once those To-Dos get completed, the issue goes away forever.
Remember that solving issues takes time, but handling them now can save time by getting rid of small issues. Left unaddressed, those small issues grow into bigger ones that will only bring you down.
To build a business destined for growth and opportunity, you need to solve issues for the long term by following your vision.
Previously published on the Pinnacle Traction blog.