How To Improve the Management Wins for Winning Business Teams Part 5: Identify Real Problems

Leanne Hoagland-Smith

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A quick story:

During the annual meeting, the CEO of a manufacturing company informed her executive team that she wanted to achieve a 10% growth during the next 12 months. The VP of Operations made plans to purchase new manufacturing equipment for new products while the VP of Marketing & Sales began to implement a plan selling existing products. The CFO decided to cut budgets to capital improvements and marketing. All three executive team members believed that their actions would help achieve the 10% growth.

And the results of their actions are only symptoms of a greater, real problem – lack of alignment supported by poor communication.

Many times in business, symptoms are confused with problems. One area that this is especially evident is within the area or department of human resource training and development. For example, employees are trained on new skills and receive lots of new knowledge for a specific performance issue. Within a short time, performance problems for that same issue re-emerge and training is viewed as not solving the problem. Hence, when a budget crunch arises, HR is one of the first departments to suffer because this department is viewed as being a problem due to poor results. Yet, the real problem was probably not the knowledge training. The authentic question to ask is not “Do they know it?” but “Do they want to do it?"

Another short story:

During a recent presentation, a business owner received the following challenge. If 10 of his 100 employees named the top 3 current organizational goals, would he receive the same answers from everyone or would he receive 5, 10 or even 25 different goals? The business owner shook his head and responded, “No, I am sure that I would receive more than 3 goals. ”

When looking at this situation, the symptom is having multiple responses of the 3 current goals. The true problem is again alignment and communication.

One solution to identifying the actual problems is conduct an organizational assessment based on known criteria such as Baldrige. Research suggests Baldrige is one of the best predictors for organizational success. If you are truly committed to creating a winning business team, then having the ability to clearly separate the symptoms from the real problems will enhance your bottom line.

P. S. Read the previous article How to Improve the Management Wins for Winning Business Teams Part 4: Implement Executive Coaching

Leanne Hoagland-Smith coaches small businesses to large organizations and high school students to entrepreneurs to double performance by closing the gap between today's outcomes and tomorrow's goals. Please feel free to contact Leanne at 219.759.5601 or visit and explore how she can help you from the free articles to the improvement tips.

One quick question, if you could secure one new client or breakthrough that one roadbloack, what would that mean to you? Then, take a risk and give a call at 219.759.5601 to experience incredible business.

Mention that you read this article and receive a complimentary 60 minute coaching session.


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