How To Help Your Business Gain Traction® By Bridging Organizational Gaps
Organizational Gap #3 – Issues, Discussions and Solutions
In this Bridging the Gap article we’re talking about something that so many companies struggle with. How often do you feel like you’re discussing the same issues over and over and over again? If your answer is often, way too often or always…you’re not alone!
In the previous two articles in this series, I talked about the gaps that so often exist between owners, managers and front-line workers and shared some practical solutions for teams to gain Traction™ by using the EOS® (Entrepreneurial Operating System®) Process. In the second article, I talked about the gap that often exists in businesses and organizations between the past, the present and future – gaps that can prevent leaders and teams from getting where you’d like to be. I also discussed the meaning of Traction™ in business, and how bridging these common gaps using the EOS Process can help move your team forward.
One thing is certain, no matter how well you bridge these gaps, it’s inevitable that you’ll always have issues. The question at hand is not whether or not you’ll face challenges and issues on your team, but how well you will solve them. Bringing improvement to your problem-solving process as a business or organization is going to require all hands on deck.
What is an issue?
Before we dive into this, I want to clarify what I mean by using the term “issues”. There are obvious things that come to mind like problems, challenges, obstacles and threats, but in this case I’m even talking about opportunities.
An issue, as it is defined in the EOS process, refers simply to anything that needs to be discussed. As a Professional EOS implementer™, I teach clients early and often in the EOS Implementation process to get used to saying “it’s just an issue”. In other words, this isn’t something to avoid; it’s simply something we need to discuss and resolve together. Bringing lasting improvement to your team’s problem solving process is key if you want to move any business or organization forward.
Leaders and their team members need to be comfortable with calling any challenge out for what it is… It’s just an issue. Most importantly, leaders need to create a safe and healthy environment where employees (I prefer to call them team members) are willing to raise their hands and call it out as such.
The first step of this process is to make sure everyone on the team understands and is comfortable with putting any challenges or discussion points on what we refer to in EOS as “the Issues List”. This is simply a list of things that need to be raised in a discussion.
EOS Traction Tools: Identify, Discuss and Solve (IDS™)
One of the most profound tools in the EOS Toolbox™ is The Issues Solving Track™ or IDS as it’s better known. IDS stands for Identify, Discuss and Solve. “Solve” means “set it up, knock it down and make it go away forever”!
The most important aspect of this process – and where the greatest amount of time should be spent – is on the Identify step. This is where being open, honest and vulnerable as a team is extremely important. To identify is to dig, dig, dig to get down to the root of the issue. In my experience as an EOS Implementer, I often see teams listing things that are simply a symptom, not the issue itself.
Gino Wickman, the creator of EOS, developed this tool after working with leadership teams – often great ones – that would tend to discuss the heck out of an issue, but could rarely get to the root of the problem first. Once you’ve identified the real issue at hand, the discussion phase is usually pretty quick. What’s important here is making sure everyone in the room is heard and their opinion recognized before the team agrees on the solution.
I don’t know who said it, but I often quote that “people buy into a decision when they’ve had a chance to weigh in on the discussion” – even if they don’t agree. If they’ve had their say, then they usually tend to support the decision.
Gain Traction Using EOS And Solve Problems Once And For All!
When using the Issues Solving Track, finding solutions is actually the easy part! The hard work is in the Identify and Discuss stages. These are critical parts of the EOS process towards gaining Traction as a team. When you’ve arrived at the “Solve” stage, you’ve done the legwork of identifying the real issue and working it out in discussion. Now all that’s left to do is decide on what needs to happen to make this issue go away forever! Who is going to do what, and by when?
Click here to access the free eBook Decide by Gino Wickman.
The key here is to make sure everyone is clear on those 3 things – who, what and when. We call those tasks “To-Do’s”.
A typical to-do is a 7-day action item. Often, the solution takes a few to-dos to get to-done. Once that problem is solved, you simply tackle the next most important issue on the list. Once you and your team are great IDSers, you’ll find you’re no longer discussing the heck out of the same issues over and over and over again! Using the EOS tools, you will find yourself gaining Traction more quickly than you might even think is possible.
In the upcoming final article in this Bridging the Gap series, we are going to address how to solve the disconnect between what you as a manager/leader feel are the objectives, the actions you see people taking and the often unintended results that ensue.