Whose problem is it???

September 30, 2011

To manage well one needs to decide what to do and then implement that decision.To decide and not implement (although we all do it) is useless. It’s all talk and no action, a bunch of hot air that no one will take seriously.The flipside -- to implement something that has not been decided -- is also futile, with the added potential for being downright dangerous: there might be side effects that should have been considered when deciding.Deciding and implementing are two sides of the same coin: one should not exist without the other.Since both deciding and implementing are the two sides of the same coin than it follows that those involved in implementation should be involved in the decision-making.Many make the mistake of separating the task of decision-making from that of implementation: one person decides and someone else implements and the two don’t talk to each other.When diagnosing a problem and deciding what to do, bring into the discussion those that are needed for implementing the decision so that the details of implementation are discussed and paid attention to.To look at an example, let us assume that John Smith has not been performing well for a while. He is a problem. To implement a solution, his boss David Johnson is needed.That means to me that David is ALSO the problem, not only John. Where was David all this time John was not performing? What is it David did not do that contributed to John’s inadequate performance?Both are needed to diagnose the problem and both are needed to solve it.When you diagnose a problem ask yourself who is needed to solve it, i.e. to implement it. Get them involved.The above insight is very important for diagnosing and solving problems. Who ever has the authority to solve the problem IS also part of the problem. And, those that are identified as the source of the problem, usually the subordinates, the workers, are necessary participants in the process of finding and implementing the solution.The mistake I noticed in my consulting practice is that there is a bifurcation: Management identifies the problem as being “them” and the solution is “us”.Wrong.If you are necessary for the solution, you are a source of the problem too and if you are causing the problem, you better participate in finding the solution.Sincerely,Dr. Ichak Kalderon Adizes

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Dr. Ichak Adizes