https://xkcd.com/1739/1. All companies have problems (they signal opportunities)
- Some problems are more important than other problems
- Trying to solve too many problems at once is problematic
- But, importantly, ignoring a problem will impact your team
- Those impacted will want to understand why you are causing them anxiety, uncertainty, lowered career satisfaction, and lowered career opportunities
- 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.
- 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
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.