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We’ve all done it. We have a symptom that’s driving us crazy, and we look for something that will quickly give us relief. Have a cold? Grab some NyQuil. Feet hurt? Take some Advil. Sometimes the quick fix will work just fine – sometimes. Unless the problem becomes chronic and your “quick fix” becomes a permanent, ineffective “solution.”

Have you ever witnessed a new policy or training program designed to fix a problem, and it only creates more problems? I have. I’ve worked to help leaders build stronger organizations for nearly three decades now. If I had to choose one trait that unites companies in any industry, it would be the temptation to find a super quick solution by slapping a bandaid on a seemingly isolated problem -in hopes of creating a long term solution. Because the actual cause of the problem isn’t addressed, the quick fix often backfires, actually causing additional issues that require additional investments of time, energy, and other resources.

To save you precious time when you’re solving an issue, I’ve included two top tips to target the root cause and create long term solutions.

Top Tip #1: Dig DEEPER.

Recently I was asked to go into an organization to give a training on conflict resolution. In my early days

of consulting I would happily agree to go into the organization and proceed to deliver what I’m sure was a killer presentation. The problem is, often times the training or motivational speech (alone) did little to fully cure the symptom the company may have been experiencing.

Let me put it another way. Say I went to a doctor and asked for a quick fix to make my skin look noticeably younger. If my doc said “Sure, slap some of this magic cream on and you’ll see immediate results,” odds are I’m not going to get the results I’m looking for. Of course, without identifying and addressing the factors that may be causing my skin to prematurely age (i.e.: tanning with baby oil, smoking, excessive stress, etc.) the “miracle cream” doesn’t stand a chance in working. However, if I began to reduce stress and stay out of the sun, and combined it with the miracle cream, I could realistically expect to see measurable success.

The same principle applies to solving symptoms such as increased conflict, customer turnover, or reduced productivity. Take the time to dig deeper, and find out what might be causing the conflict, turnover, etc. Ask yourself “Why is there conflict, what might be the

cause?” and “What’s the impact on my business?” And, “If I solved the problem, what would my company gain?”

Top Tip #2: Focus Your Efforts.

Getting to the root cause of a symptom requires that you gather unbiased, unfiltered data. Additionally, you’ll need to talk to representatives of multiple perspectives. It’s possible that processes, policies, organizational design issues, performance management, or other obstacles may be the cause of the symptom.You’ll also want to determine whether the symptom is something that impacts more than one person or department (sometimes the symptom isn’t as widespread as you may have thought).

It’s going to take some effort. However,when you determine and address the root cause, and combine it with applicable methods of organizational development (such as training, org.design, leadership development, etc.), you can begin to create solutions that will actually bring sustainable success.

Have questions, want additional info, or looking for assistance in getting started? Give me a call. I’m happy to help you Actualize success.



©2014 Lisa Broesch-Weeks, Actualize Consulting Group. Permission granted to excerpt or reprint with attribution and notification.  www.ActualizeResults.com