In an executive Level10 meeting recently, one of my EOS clients’ VP of Manufacturing looked around the room and said “we need to deal with handling requests for information for possible opportunities better”. What? Who is “we”? What is “better”? For that matter, what does “deal with” mean?
When a issue gets generic it is often a sign of a problem with which the company is struggling. An issue which has been brought up before perhaps, but not solved. Probably some bailing wire and duct tape was put on it to get it off the table quickly. But here it is again. If this sounds like some of your meetings, you are not alone. This happens everywhere.
The solution is simple, just not easy. When there is an issue to be solved by the executive leadership team, or any team that meets regularly for a company, you need to say it so as to make it hurt, but not be hurtful. Take the the issue above, brought up by the VP of Manufacturing. A better way to tee up the problem might have been,- “Harry (the VP of Sales), I can see by looking at our executive scorecard that while the inquiries coming in from our website are increasing in number, the number of suspects in our pipeline is not increasing in a similar ratio. We have to figure out why. Isn’t your inside sales team are responsible for qualifying inbound web hits or calls? What do you think is going on?”
For companies running their business on EOS, this is the first step in the issue solving technique known as IDS. I stands for identify. D stands for discuss. S stands for solve. If you don’t first identify the root cause of the problem, you run the risk of meaningless, if well intentioned, discussion without hope of actually solving the problem. It might not be Harry’s team’s failure. There may be a different root cause, but starting this way assures that you are going to figure it out before discussing symptoms for an hour.
If you want to learn more about IDS’ing, see an earlier post on the subject here