PLEASE, stop making problem solving overly-complicated―the complication is hardly in the problem or in the situation; it’s in your approach, your perception of what’s going on.
Stop listening to self-proclaimed experts or gurus who profess to have discovered a secret solution to your problem, coaxing you to adopt their proprietary n-step best practice.
You may ask why I disparage this approach wholesale without having examined these solutions first. Well, since you ask:
- These solutions address symptoms or effects, which can be solved ONLY after having diagnosed their root cause(s).
- Prescribing solutions WITHOUT diagnosing the root cause(s) is MALPRACTICE.
- Problem solving is a PROCESS, not a shopping trip to The Solution Depot.
Systemic problems manifest themselves as unintended and unwanted effects that are costly, which erode profit margins, thus REDUCING bottom line results. Consequently, most, if not all of these one-size-fits-all solutions contain efficiency improvement measures, aimed at INCREASING bottom line results.
However, the fact that a systemic problem has negative financial effects on bottom line results implies neither that you have a financial problem, nor need a financial solution. As a matter of fact, you wouldn’t know UNTIL you conduct a root cause analysis!
Stupid People are Identified by Their Actions
Analogous to the expression the squeaking wheel gets the grease, systemic problems only receive executive attention when unintended and unwanted results keep popping up left and right, as if playing a game of Whack-a-Mole.
Can anyone explain to me why the most popular, and the most frequently prescribed solutions for unintended and unwanted results are efficiency improvement measures; solutions aimed at increasing bottom line results?
Furthermore, I’d like someone to explain to me why decision makers double down by spending more money on the same kind of efficiency improvement solution, albeit a more potent version of it, when unintended and unwanted results persist and recur; when a systemic problem seems to be without solution.
Anyone, please help me out here, why would an intelligent decision maker be so stupid to attempt compensating the wasteful cost of a recurring systemic problem, PLUS the investment and amortization cost of multiple efficiency improvement measures, with projected efficiency gains? Knock me over with a feather . . . . .but, what’s the (root cause of the) problem they think they’re solving with this approach?
Follow the Process!
Whenever you experience results that are unintended and unwanted, you have a problem.
A problem is a discrepancy or misalignment between the business’ desired state and its current state. This discrepancy can be measured quantitatively and subsequently assessed on its severity, growth, and urgency.
The current state of a business is an effect, and every effect has a (root) cause. Identify the root cause and an authentic solution will reveal itself―the solution is contained within the problem.
It’s that simple, which does not mean it’s easy. All you need is to think differently; think outside the box. Because its instructions are written on the outside of the box, you’ll need an outsider to read them to you. I’ll be happy to oblige!
To read more, get a copy of my book The Root Cause: Rethink Your Approach To Solving Stubborn Enterprise-Wide Problems.