[vimeo id="143183048"] One of the great tests of leadership is when things go wrong. Maybe your plan didn’t work out or your organization has stopped growing. It’s even worse if you don’t know why. Many times it’s because we just made a mistake. But sometimes it’s not so obvious. In these situations it’s very important a leader knows how to effectively trouble-shoot a problem. In other words, an effective leader needs to find the root issue. Here are a couple of ideas on how to find the why when things go wrong.
The first step is to identify what exactly is the problem. If you don’t know the problem then you can’t fix it. Think about it this way. If you’re sick, your doctor needs to know your symptoms in order to treat it properly. In the same way a leader needs to understand how their organization or team is hurting in order to effectively turnaround the group. This is the essence behind a transformational vision.
The second step is to assess the degree of the issue. You know, many times what looks like a minor issue can very quickly turn into a major problem. That’s why it’s so important to be vision-oriented. Here’s an easy rule thumb: if any issue pushes your organization away from its vision then it’s a major problem. Small hiccups become big hang-ups when they drive your team in the wrong direction. At the same time, be careful not to over-correct for something minor.
The third step is to determine where the problem is happening. Maybe it’s a department or team in the organization. You know, it could even be just one person on a team. Now one thing that can really help you is feedback. People on the outside can often see where the problem is better than people on the inside. So having a solid feedback loop is really important for continued growth.
The fourth step is to discern when the problem occurs. Although we often overlook this aspect, this is key to understanding the root issue. Does the problem occur when your team has a large workload? Does it show up during certain seasons or at the end of the year? Does it appear when certain team members get together? You see if you know the when, you’ll soon know the why.
Lastly, find the common factor. The root issue is where all the other steps converge. Many times it’s pretty simple to correct. Maybe it’s just a lack of training or a group of people functioning outside of their skillset. Other times it can be more difficult to amend. It could be that your organization has outgrown its current structure. The key is when you’ve found the root issue…you’re 80% of the way to solving the problem.
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