One of the most stubborn paradigms we have to shatter as new leaders is illustrated above. Which is more complex? I admit it’s a bit of a trick question. Almost everyone instinctively picks B. But A is infinitely more complex.
Here’s what I mean …
With B you see relationships. You could even possibly infer cause and effect depending on how those dots were organized and labeled. As new leaders we tend to see the problems we deal with in isolation. That’s how A is portrayed. The trouble (and complexity) with A is that you don’t know relationships between dots/issues/problems/ideas/etc. If you don’t know relationships, particularly cause/effect relationships how can you correctly prioritize and assign resources best?
CURRENT REALITY TREE
During my Theory of Constraints and 6 sigma training by Dr. Tony LaTurner I learned a powerful way to visualize the problems or challenges an operation is experiencing. Take ALL (I mean ALL) the things you wish were different about your operation and write them in short phrases onto index cards. Then tape them up on a wall in the order of cause and effect with the cause being below the effect. What is produced is the shape of a tree with the core problem or root cause at the bottom. The research says that if you solve that core problem 70% of the other UDEs (undesirable effects) will be eliminated or reversed.
So, how are you allocating your resources? That is essentially what you are paid to do as the Executive Director of a facility or like operation. How much time do we spend on our most important, least urgent issues as opposed to the urgent, less important/strategic issues that fight for our attention?
What is your core problem? Chances are that you’re not spending nearly enough time fixing it because all of the undesirable effects of it are drowning you.