As an EOS Implementer™ I work with leadership teams running their company on EOS®, a business management system. During our quarterly sessions together, we spend a high percentage of our time on solving their issues. In the EOS Model™, the Issues Component™ has two tools. The first is the Issues List and the second is IDS™.
Two Issue-Solving Tools
To start, the leadership team compiles a list of issues they are facing in the business. An issue can be a concern, problem, or obstacle, but it can also be an idea or an opportunity. Most importantly, you need to be able to trust each other and know that you are able to speak up and put anything on that list. There are many times that I’ve heard members of leadership teams say, “I’m not even going to bring that up!” or “I can’t put that on the Issues List!” This hinders the company’s ability to grow, because if you are not being honest about your issues, you are not moving forward.
Once the list is compiled, we choose the three issues that are the top priorities and begin IDS-ing them one by one.
I – Identify. Truly identify the root cause of the issue.
D – Discuss. Openly discuss the issue with everyone sharing their opinion.
S – Solve. Come to an agreement on next steps to make the issue go away forever.
The first step in the process is the one where I have the most passion – Identify. You may find it surprising, but this is where most teams have difficulty. As humans, we want to get to Solve quickly – to get the issue out of our way. We have a tendency to use duct tape to fix the issue, actually, many different colors of duct tape – red, blue, orange and, of course, gray. However, that only seems to solve the symptom and when we do that, the same issue seems to keep coming back, so we try to “duct tape” it again, and again, and shove it aside. Yet it never seems to go away fully. The magic happens when we peel back the layers of the issue like an onion and get to its root, i.e., what is truly causing the issue we’re looking at today, not its symptom.
Once we’ve truly identified the root cause of the issue, we can move on to the second step – Discuss. This step also takes a large amount of trust. We need to feel as a team that we are able to use our voice and honestly say what needs to be said to move the issue to Solve. Asking the questions that will help you get to the core of what is causing the issue. Everything starts with trust. Everyone needs to feel heard and comfortable voicing their thoughts. As a leadership team, you need to spend the time to earn each other’s trust so you can speak freely and use your voice to solve issues for the greater good of the company.
After everyone has been heard, we move to the third step – Solve. Not all issues will be solved on the first tackle. Finding the root cause may bring up other underlying issues that need to be dealt with prior to solving the original issue brought to the table. Sometimes the first issue addressed goes away after solving the underlying issues. It’s about deciding what Solve looks like today and becoming masterful at answering the question, “What is the to-do(s) that will move this issue forward?”
Where there is trust within a leadership team, so goes the ability to go deeper and stronger. Be brave. Use your voice.