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Problems! Problems? Problems.

Published: August 06, 2017

1 MHZ5BFR4VgUCBPCj9DIVGQ https://xkcd.com/1739/1. All companies have problems (they signal opportunities)

  1. Some problems are more important than other problems
  2. Trying to solve too many problems at once is problematic
  3. But, importantly, ignoring a problem will impact your team
  4. Those impacted will want to understand why you are causing them anxiety, uncertainty, lowered career satisfaction, and lowered career opportunities
  5. Saying “be patient, it just isn’t as important as [the more important option], here is why, and this is how we’ll measure progress” is VERY difficult to do. It requires transparency and psychological safety.
  6. So we concoct vague and middling statements and/or try to fix the problem in a half-assed manner. It becomes “Medium Priority”. This is repeated with multiple problems. It becomes difficult to understand relative priority
  7. No one wants to admit that something isn’t important (right now). Meanwhile, those impacted start to reject the blatant coherence issues. Do they care? Why not? They must have malicious intent!
  8. The middling, poorly resourced efforts to fix the Medium Priority problem loose steam. This casts doubt on those impacted (and the people who manage them). Which triggers a confrontational, protective stance.
  9. Which then causes more problems **The lesson for leaders: **Explain the why. Focus. Show humility. Don’t lie to yourself and others. Respect that your decisions have impact. Engage your people in solving the most important problems impacting the business.