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One Bite at a Time


Remember the old joke, “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer was, “One bite at a time!” The same punch line holds true for solving your organization’s issues.

There are three types of issues common to all organizations:

  1. A true problem that needs to be solved
  2. Information that needs to be communicated and agreed to by the team
  3. An idea or opportunity that needs feedback, brainstorming, insight, and/or a green light from the team

Sometimes a leadership team encounters a true problem that needs to be solved, but the issue appears enormous. Perhaps there are multiple potential root causes, or the issue simply feels impossible to solve. The tendency is to take the easy way out and give up. I encourage you not to do that! 

Instead, give a marker to the person who brought the issue to the team and send him to the whiteboard. Have that person clearly state exactly what he needs from the team—what “solved” looks like. We call this starting with the end in mind. The leadership team doesn’t need the 20-minute story. They need to know what is needed for the greater good of the organization.

Then, start asking questions about the issue, and have the owner of the issue start listing the answers on the whiteboard. Keep asking questions until everyone fully understands the root cause of the issue.

When an issue appears enormous, tracking the answers on the whiteboard will help the team determine if there are multiple root causes, each of which is an additional issue. Start listing those on the right side of the whiteboard for another time. And stay laser focused on the root cause of the issue the team is solving right now.

This approach requires two things: First, the leadership team must focus on solving the primary issue. Second, they must have the persistence to commit to it.

That takes discipline and an understanding of the process to keep everyone focused, but an EOS Implementer can help. When tackling those discussions one bite at a time, a root cause is identified, additional issues are flagged for later, and solutions to the issue are brainstormed.

If your organization has issues that need to be solved, I can help. Please use the contact form below to schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation with me. We’ll lay the groundwork so you can begin solving your organization’s issues one bite at a time.



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