Executives often have a standard response to difficulties between departments and between executives. “Looks like those guys can’t get along. I think we may need to make some changes.” The most common change is in personnel; find a replacement, someone who can get along better with other members of the team. Another common response, before finding a different person, is “coaching”.
It usually goes like this: “Sarah’s just not working well with her peers and its negatively impacting her department. I think she needs coaching.” And so the often frustrated senior executive gets a dose of coaching, which more often than not is psychological in nature, looking for “issues” in the past to help explain the difficulty in working well with others. Over competitiveness as a compensation for your insecurities… blah, blah, blah.
Let’s suppose however that the issue being addressed is a manufacturing quality issue or a supply chain problem. The most common approach today is to use a Root Cause Analysis, map out the value chain and look for waste, incomplete feedback, missing process steps or ill-defined standards. By mapping out the process it is often easy to find one or more issues that are the main cause of the problem.
Why do we think people problems are always problem people?
What if we decided to map out the leadership processes that tend to impact on how executives behave and interact? What if a faulty step in the process (like incomplete or inaccurate metrics) were at the root cause of Sarah’s problems with one of her fellow directors?
Before leaders assume “people problems” they should investigate their own leadership and management processes. I will wager that the majority of the time the problem lies in the process, not the people.
If you want to understand more about “leadership processes”, give me a call or drop me an email.
Tight Lines . . .
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