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What is the real problem we have, right now?

Every organisation has challenges and areas where they need to improve, even the very best of them. The challenge is always figuring out what to work on and what not to work on or putting it in another way what are the Good things to work on and what are the Great things to work on. The aim is to only work on the great things rather than just work on everything and get nothing truly done.

The challenge then is figuring out what things are the great things what are the things that cause the biggest pain, the real source of the pain bit the referred pain that will pop up. For example, a dispatch area who are overloaded every Friday and can't complete shipments is pain, but the real problem is that your output isn't designed correctly to create a steady flow and that is sourced way back at the planning of the work and even then back at the process design.. so you wouldn't start in logistics.

Finding the Problems 


There are so many ways of going about finding the root cause of the problems that sometimes that in itself becomes a problem, what is the right way to do it, where to start, which method is better? The answer normally is whatever method works and you understand t a degree but I would like to introduce you to my favourite question to use when doing there.

Now before we get there, I also want to introduce you to a gent by the name of Michael Bungay Stanier, a great coach and author of "The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever" He has 7 coaching questions that he uses and shares in his book, if you want to genuinely change how you lead then pick up his book and have a read. I love and use all 7 of his questions. If you want to read Michael's 7 questions then read his article from a few years ago on Business Insider here or pop over to his website here

My Version of the Focus Question 

When you want to get focus you need to ask the right question, this is a question that is about getting the deep thinking going, to move past the surface answer. It's like the 5 Why's approach all rolled up in one! Are you ready fro the question? Ok here it is:

What is the real problem we have, right now?

Ok yes I admit it, it's the title but it's the question you need to ask. The key word here is REAL… not what is the thing that's bugging you or why can't you ship out of logistics on time, what's the REAL problem. That means you have to slow down, you have to think about it, you have to focus on it. By adding the Right Now at the end, you are creating the focus on the immediate issue that needs to be fixed, where are you actually bleeding. Now this is important, you can use this question when you have an immediate issue that you need to figure out but you should also think about using this question are your strategic off sites... as an organisation what is the real problem that we have, right now that if we solved would take up further towards achieving our mission and improving our performance. It's the rally cry question!

Slowing Down to Go Faster  

The beauty of the question, "What is the real problem we have, right now?" is that it does force you to slow down, to really stop and understand and think about all the inputs to the issue. As you peel each layer of that problem onion you can ask yourself, is this the real problem?.. nope, ok let's have another layer. There is no rush to action here, it's a focus on figuring out the real issue. This is the great issue, the thing that should get your focus

What Next? 

Once you do find it then obviously it's go fix it and yes there is a great question for this as well.. and wouldn't you know it, it's Michael's 4th question, What Do You Want? which if you are a Covey 7 habits fan fits nicely with Begin With The End In Mind, in other words, what does a final solution look like. Guess what, you know have the bookends you need to create a gap analysis and a plan to close the gap… in 2 Questions!! Now, go and work on these things, only these things, these are the great things you need to do, so say no to everything else.. that's what great leaders do!

Get In Touch

If you need any support in finding and solving the real problems in your organisation then click here to make an appointment and find out how we can help you Make Things, Better

You can also call John on 0211649739 to set up a meeting 


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Thursday, 02 April 2020

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