In Part 4, we talked about knowing your numbers.   In this blog, we are going to address problems, or Issues.  It is the forth component of the EOS and is an essential component of gaining traction.   This component is in place when you are documenting and capturing all your issues and identifying, discussing, and solving (IDS) them in a timely manner.

This discipline will cause your team to quit procrastinating and avoiding problems. Within every organizational problem, there is an opportunity to improve and move forward if you will choose to solve it.  Problems are stepping stones to growth and success.  The only problem with problems is allowing them to remain unsolved and unaddressed.  Leaders must learn to make hard decisions and move on.  What I have noticed as a business coach is that people will discuss problems and beat the proverbial horse to death, but often will not resolve issues.  That is a recipe for frustration and disaster.

The workplace must have a culture and environment where it is encouraged and required to get problems out in the open and documented. You can’t address what you don’t know.  Once you have a team that is willing to talk about your problems, Gino Wickman, author of Traction, gives a simple but powerful approach to solving issues.

First, you must capture all your issues.  There are long term company issues, (to be shelved and addressed at the quarterly meetings).  These are documented on the Issues List in the VT/O.  Second, there is the weekly leadership team Issues List. These are company issues that are to be addressed at the weekly leadership team meetings.  This list should not contain the departmental issues. These are issues that should be solved at the weekly departmental meetings.

With the three issues lists in place, you follow the Issues Solving Track to solve them. This tool consists of three simple steps: Identify, Discuss, and Solve (IDS).  In the meeting, you scan the whole list and choose the top three priorities.  Then you take the most critical issue to address and make sure that you have the real issues identified.  Most often, an issue is a symptom, or fruit, of an underlying root issue. You want to get to the real problem so that you can solve it once and for all! This is where you must be determined to ask the hard questions to uncover what’s actually happening.  Once the root issue is identified, then the team should discuss and offer any further input on the issue to gain clarity.  This is not a time to politic, but just gather information from each perspective.  Do not get bogged at this point by talking about other related tangents. Focus exclusively on the issue at hand.  If you do a good job at identifying and discussing the issue, quite often the solution is apparent.  There are three types of resolutions.  The first is an action someone must take to solve it,  Second, the issue may resolve just by being clear about what was happening, and third, you may need further information or research to address the issue.  The resolution occurs as the appropriate next step is completed.

This is a brief summary of the Issues component of Traction.  Go solve some problems!!