The world of business consulting, advocacy, coaching and training is chockablock full with best-practices, n-step solutions, proprietary methodologies and tools. What they have in common is a prescription for success—i.e. increasing efficiency, cutting cost, and other investments to raise bottom-line results.
Dr. Albert Einstein identified this Perfection of Means and Confusion of Ends as characteristic of our times.
Another commonality among these prescriptions is a deliberate decision to skip any diagnosis, or investigating any root cause(s). At best, prescriptions without diagnosis will sustain these unintended and unwanted symptoms, and aggravate or even spread them enterprise-wide at worst.
What if the remedy you need is an EFFECTIVENESS measure, rather than an EFFICIENCY measure? How would you know when deciding to skip proper diagnosis of cause-and-effect relationships? By the way, effectiveness problems are more harmful because they reveal themselves to your buyers/users in the products/services you provide. Buyers are the main source of the income you desire, and they don’t care very much about your efficiency.
Moreover, ignorance of cause-and-effect undermines justification of one’s decision in favor of a chosen prescription because you’re ill-equipped to explain the requisite means-and-end relationship between that prescription and the unintended and unwanted situation you try to resolve.
Spending time, money and efforts on proper diagnoses is worthwhile because once you understand the root of the dysfunction, you no longer need to explore its countless manifestations. Yes, one dysfunction can manifest itself as many unintended and unwanted outcomes, while investment in prescriptions to solve these manifestations individually and separately allows the root dysfunction to linger, fester, and recur, more likely than not, at a time when the system is already experiencing abnormal stress.
Proper diagnosis of a business system’s dysfunction(s) with alacrity is the best prevention against Human Error, which are symptoms of a failing system; when people are set up to fail either in commission or omission, by the conditions under which they work.
If you want to know why DEVELOPING the capability and capacity of your business system is more important than GROWING the business in form and size, then contact me at Hans@AnticipatedOutcome.com.