Does it take too long to complete your processes? Do your supervisors fail to follow the procedures? Do you feel like you have a never-ending list of problems to address? Many managers face these issues and believe they have no choice but to work the problems as they occur and try to keep their heads above water.
One would probably guess this article is about time-management or strategic planning, but this article is really about finding full spectrum solutions for your organization. This is also not about root causes. Root causes are essential and are a part of full spectrum solutions, but the critical difference is that a root cause does not always affect other processes, but a full spectrum solution does. These solutions will enable and eventually empower your people to solve the other issues that arise, leaving you time to dedicate to more strategic issues.
We all get caught up in the most recent issue. The most recent problem is the “most important” issue because it is fresh. A good manager will not automatically react to every problem as if it must be fixed right away. A good manager will know there are many problems and just because this problem happened now, does not mean it is the more important problem to direct the focus. This is reactive problem-solving. It is not always a bad approach, but it is not usually the best.
How does one identify a full spectrum solution? Mostly by what will happen if the solution is found and implemented. For example, if there is a problem with a report not being completed correctly, but you have already provided training, and they just don’t seem to get it. The initial solution would be to hold more training and perhaps start writing people up for accountability purposes. But a full spectrum solution that will help with this problem would be to invest in the supervisors and help develop them into problem solvers. This solution takes much more time and will require patience from the manager and their boss.
Another issue we must face is the expectation for instant results. Most solutions take time, and nothing will ever be perfect. So, guard against working only for short-term and immediate results. This is called making a band-aid fix. The problem with this kind of fix is the actual issue is never addressed. A band-aid is placed on it for short-term success but the issue will continue to come back.
Here are a few places that are typically associated with full spectrum solutions:
Supervisory development (leadership & management)
Look for solutions that will have 2nd and 3rd order of effects