As the saying goes, I was not late, my attention was required elsewhere.
From time to time we all find ourselves running late, missing a meeting, or just being pulled off of our daily routine to fix one panic problem or another. No matter what your business or work schedule, interruptions are a part of our lives. And while we focus on these distractions, who is really handling our day-to-day operations?
When these distractions interrupt us our first tendency is to put a Band-Aid on it and get back to what we need to do. The problem is Band-Aids fall off eventually. And in about six weeks we find ourselves being interrupted for the same problem that we dealt with six weeks ago. I’m not a believer in Band-Aids. I believe in fixing the problem.
To fix the problem, we have to dig to a root cause and isolate it. And to do that you need some people who understand what the process is trying to accomplish. Everyone helping would just be a total mess and slow things down even more. Find two people who understand the problem and have them start asking why. Just like the three-year-old who continually asks why the sky is blue, they need to ask a stream of “why” questions until there is no more ‘why’ to contemplate.
This happens because of that, that occurs because of something else, something else happens because of whatever, and as you research and dig you will come to the root cause. Now a fix for that cause can be made. Finding the root cause is only half the battle. Before you go back to your desk patting yourself on the back, you need to set up some monitoring to ensure the problem does not reappear.
At this point, if the problem doesn’t reappear, you have probably solved it. To ensure others in your company or working for you do not cause the problem to repeat, you need to document what happened and what was done. The new process is polished, and all the affected people are trained on the new process.
The reason you want to stay on top of problems goes back the to the question I asked earlier, “While I focus on these distractions, who is really handling my day-to-day operations?” Most of the time the answer to this is no one, and if you end up having to spend too much time outside of your daily routine, that routine will sooner or later end up being your problem.
Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.