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You Might Have a Bigger Problem

 

Leadership styles come in many shapes and flavors. Those who use the DISC model of communication know that D and I styles tend to be more direct, sometimes operate at a faster pace and occasionally make ‘ready-fire-aim’ decisions. On the other hand, C and S style leaders tend to be a bit more thoughtful, less direct and may sometimes be overly-patient.

All leaders know that a mix of communication style adaptability is needed depending upon the context of the conversation with other person and/or situation. With that said, we can use a simple business formula to help the D and I style leaders gain a better and deeper understanding of problems and issues and use that same formula to help S and C style managers take quicker action.

The 10 x 10 = 100 formula is a handy tool for solving problems faster, mitigating impact and moving on quicker. The first 10 in the formula is based on the premise that many times managers only see the tip of the iceberg with regard to a larger problem. The second 10 in the formula suggests that sometimes managers aren’t able to gauge the full impact of a problem that is not dealt with swiftly. The product of 100 in the formula represents the average number of days it make take the remedy the problem.

Let’s examine an example

Bill has been the IT Manager for his company for several years. Over time his company’s network and IT needs have increased and become more complex. Because Bill has a fairly controlling personality, the CEO largely ‘leaves him alone.” After all, Bill is a professional and has been there for many years.

On one unfortunate evening, the company’s servers crash and they undergo a major data loss. While consulting with Bill the next day, the CEO asks him about the future strategy to make sure this never happens again. Bill assures the CEO it was an isolated incident and new protections will be put in place.


However, six weeks later, the company suffers not only another data loss issue but also a significant email outage with some employees being without email for 48-hours, crippling customer service and employee communication.

Out of frustration, the CEO brings in an IT consultant recommended by a friend. The consultant reveals that their IT systems are old and outdated and recommends an off-site cloud solution for redundancy, disaster recovery and efficient scaling. The CEO directs Bill two take the handoff from the consultant to implement the solution. Four weeks later, checking in with Bill he finds that he has taken no action to implement the solution.

Finally, out of frustration, the CEO runs a hard line of questioning by Bill and discovers that he is apprehensive to implement the solution as it is out of his wheelhouse of knowledge and comfort. The CEO has no choice but to let Bill go and begin a search for an IT Manager who has the skills to do the work that is needed. After a lengthy search, a new hire is made and starts four weeks after Bill had departed.

Bill didn't need to lose his job!

In the above example, the first data loss was merely one symptom of a larger problem. One the employee was not willing to offer up and one that the CEO did not dig in on. As the problem worsened, so did its impact from one data loss calamity to another that two days of lost productivity out of the month making it very difficult and near-impossible for the team to do their jobs. When the larger issue was finally addressed (wrong person in the job), it was nearly four months from the initial issue until the problem was solved and new solution was in place.

Encourage your managers to first dig deeper into problems to identify the part of the “iceberg” they can’t see. The first 10 in the equation above means we often only see 10% of the surface problem and can miss or underestimate the other 90% of the problem. Next, when assessing short and long-term issues of not fully solving the problem, have the manager truly assess what the true impact or consequences might be of not solving the problem.

 

The second 10 in the equation means that many managers only consider 10% of the impact of the issue (failing to consider the other 90% of the worse-case scenario). By more thoroughly assessing both 10’s in the equation your people will do a better job of managing down the number of days to implement the solution (from an average of 100) to a number that limits impact and collateral damage.

Consider the styles of your managers

While C styles might be great at digging in to problem identification, they may be slower to react and avoid confrontation, a common issue with S styles too. And for the D and the I styles, while they may be willing to take quicker action, work with them on the skills to be sure they are “working on the right end of the problem” to truly assess root causes and total impact before they pull the trigger on a solution.

At the end of the day, we want to instill a culture of effective AND efficient problem solving in our organizations and charge our managers to model that for the rest of the team no matter their style.

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For the free whitepaper, Six Ways to be a More Effective Manager Whitepaper, contact Bob Bolak at bbolak@sandler.com. Bob Bolak is President/CEO of Sandler Training in the Greater Denver Area. As an accomplished leadership, management, customer service and sales consultant and trainer, he brings two and half decades of leadership, management and sales experience to the table, with a consistent track record of double and triple digit revenue and profit increases. Sandler Training has authored over two dozen books on effective leadership, management, customer service and sales.


 

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