How To Assess Managerial Problems Like A Doctor
The Manager, just like the Doctor, is the first recipient of the problem.
Whatever your views about the issue as presented the first step that you need to carry out is to ask yourself is there actually a problem here in the first place? If there is indeed a problem, what kind of problem is it and what is the best way of dealing with it. This boils down to thinking about the following points:
- Identifying the symptoms in any given situation
- Diagnosing the source of the disease or cause of the problem
- Decide how it might be dealt with
- Start the treatment and work to resolve the issue
The responsibility to start the process off lies with the local manager although it is perfectly reasonable to ask for, and invite into the issue, specialists with key expert knowledge.
In many management decisions the symptom is treated and not the cause: poor communication is “solved” by having a meeting and low team morale is corrected by buying in Lunch and sitting around just chatting about issues.
Similarly, just prescribing the same antibiotics whatever the disease will not solve anything. The same is true of management where, apparently, all can be made well with a well-worded email which will clarify the position and show the way forward!
Is the problem, in terms of diagnosis, a true on-off or is it just the same problem that has not been resolved many times previously? The instinctive reaction in diagnosing the problem will always be “Whose fault is it?” rather than “What is wrong here?”.
Treating the symptoms never addresses the root cause of the issue: focusing on the symptom achieves nothing, hoovers up resource and meansthat the same problem, or a similar one, will appear very quickly again.
If the cause is tackled from the start, it is likely that the solution is relatively easy to correct BUT this more scientific and long-term view is sacrificed for a quick look at the symptoms.
Diagnosis of the problem implies deep and systematic understanding of the issue. The firststage here is to use your instinct to identify a way forward. Remembering that first instincts can be false, using a cod and impartial diagnosis list, looking at all the relevant issues, is essential to avoid timewasting and expensive attempts to resolve the position.
Treatment can be difficult: there will be cases when no treatment will ever resolve the position and where expensive remedies rule out their use. Whatever the position the local manager needs to be clear about what could be done and what should be done.
The key tosuccessfully resolving a problem lies in having a logical and measured approach to dealing with the real cause of the issues, not just treating the immediate symptoms.
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