Some problems are simple. Some problems feel silly once we see the solution. Big problems typically don’t go away easily, otherwise, we probably wouldn’t be discussing them.
In the workplace we hold meetings to solve problems. Change is often met with opposition, always eager and ready to point out more difficulties, and more challenges.
Resistors insist that the proposed resolution will break the system, lose customers, and start an unstoppable downhill spiral of events that will end in devastation.
Twenty years ago, I remember holding meetings with sales teams and operations groups. During the meetings I used an easel pad to capture what they identified as problems.
Following the meetings in my office I would review the large flip-chart sheets and spend more time to understand the data I had captured.
The problems were complex. They involved numerous departments and workgroups. Budget and money were factors for resolution. So was training, on-boarding the right people, and keeping systems operational while change emerged.
Because of the complexity and budget, it meant that I couldn’t single handedly address their concerns. It would require buy-in from investors and other organizational leaders.
What did I do?
I spent time with the people in the decision flow who had a voice and could impact the necessary areas to address the challenges. This required more meetings, more time, and more red tape.
What didn’t I do?
Unfortunately, I didn’t immediately get back with the teams that spent the time to discuss the challenges. I didn’t spend enough time to follow-up, follow-through, and keep them apprised of the status. I assumed they understood the careful navigation required to address their concerns.
Through their lens, from their frame, I wasn’t doing anything to help with their problems.
I felt rather silly. Twenty years later I still feel kind of silly writing about it. The problem is, we often take many behaviors, actions, and inaction for granted.
Make a big effort. Be thorough. Circle back. Do it timely.
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.