Here are my answers to some frequently asked questions:
Q: Why did you write this book?
A: Well, by far the biggest threat to effective leadership is an executive who fails at Solving Stubborn Enterprise-Wide Problems. Not only is that bad for her or his career, it also poses a material threat to a business’s profitability and sustainability, and its ability to operate with respect for humanity. In short, business problems are a CEOs personal problems! And, nothing changes significantly without the CEO’s unconditional involvement and support.
Q: Why do you believe solving systemic problems is so challenging, given the plethora of readily available solutions?
A: Yes, there are indeed ample best practices, off-the-shelf and out of-the-box solutions, universal tools and technology available, all claiming instant success. Yet, how can anyone even expect to be successful without diagnosing the problem, let alone its root cause(s)?
Any of these if this is your pain, then here is your medicine attempts at solving the unintended and unwanted effects of a systemic problem is merely Trial-and-Error.
Examples of these unintended and unwanted effects are a lack of employee engagement and the subsequent war for talent, low quality products, poor customer service and their subsequent increase in cost for marketing and sales, which erodes profit margins.
Note the medical world’s warning against these all too common and ill-advised practices by teaching that: Prescription without diagnosis is MALPRACTICE!
Q: Why do you emphasize quality and business system development?
A: Every business is a system, and every system is developed according to the purpose it is intended to realize. Therefore, its (financial) performance depends on the quality of its development―how well the system is designed, structured or organized, operated or implemented, maintained, and managed.
Yet, as Albert Einstein observed many years ago: “Perfection of means and the confusion of ends seem to characterize our age.” Let me elaborate on that quote. Executives can choose between a strategy based on GROWTH (increasing bottom line results), or DEVELOPMENT (increasing capability and capacity). They then decide on the means to realize their chosen strategic end.
However, perfecting the means to increase bottom line results―typically achieved by cutting cost for development of a business’s capability and capacity to realize its intended purpose―leads invariably to the pursuit of a purpose different from the one for which the business was created.
Once buyers/users notice a disparity in their experience with a business, and how that business portrays its brand identity, they lose trust and confidence in that brand, and start taking their business elsewhere.
Q: What is the benefit of spending time and money on diagnosing root causes?
A: The best answer to this question I found in Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now in which he writes: “Once you understand the root of the dysfunction, you do not need to explore its countless manifestations.” In other words, by addressing the root cause you solve each of its individual manifestation in one fell swoop. How efficient is that!
Q: Why do you prioritize thinking over doing?
A: Remember the well-known quote by Albert Einstein: “The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them.” This quote follows the UNIVERSAL LAW OF CAUSE AND EFFECT wherein cause is the level of thought and effect is the level of our experiences.
Therefore, creating new and different experiences demand a new and different level thinking. Problems are stubborn and keep coming back in one form or another, no matter what we do, for as long as we refuse to learn, unlearn and relearn.