Posted by: Brandon W. Jones | February 12, 2012

Getting To The Root of Problem

As leaders, how do you handle problems?  How do you determine a solution when you have a reoccurring problem?  It is easy to look at something that isn’t going right and just brush it under the rug.  It is also easy to just fix the symptoms without looking any deeper.  However, each problem has a root cause.  I have seen three general approaches to problem solving.

1.  Don’t address the problem and hope it goes away.  This approach is a very easy approach to take because it requires the least amount of work.  When you ignore the problem there are times when it will just go away on its own, but most of the time that is not the case.  If you don’t address the problem when it occurs, most of the time it just gets bigger and becomes more expensive to fix.  What starts out as a little problem usually turns into a big problem when it on without being addressed.

2.  Fix the symptoms of the problem and move on.  Although this approach is better than just ignoring a problem, it doesn’t keep the problem from coming back in the future.  This method only prolongs the time until you have to address the root of the problem.  It buys you time, but it is only a band aid.  If you only fix the symptoms and never fix the root of the problem, you will eventually have the same result as ignoring the problem.  When you ignore a problem, you can still have the problem get out of hand to where it is a much bigger problem than what you want to deal with.

3.  Figure out the cause of the problem and fix it, so the problem goes away and doesn’t happen again.  This is the best approach to problem solving.  Finding the root of the problem requires much more research than the other two approaches.  As you solve a problem, you must identify who all the players are and what led to the problem in the first place.  You must exam the system as a whole because usually when a problem occurs it is a systematic problem.  You must then make a systematic change to prevent the problem from recurring.

How do you handle problems and solve them?  How do you get to the root?  Please share your comments in the comments section below!

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