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Two Questions to Ask to Define Your Organisation’s Problems – and Find Useful Solutions

Being able to answer these questions about your vision and your current performance - and recognising gaps in your knowledge - will help usefully structure the information you have.
A forest, with sunlight shining through from the right

By Chally Kacelnik

Organisations approach us because they want support to improve. Sometimes they have a really clear idea of what they think sorely needs improvement. Sometimes they think they’re doing pretty well, but want to set themselves up to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future. More often, there’s the nagging and pervasive sense that something isn’t working, and the organisation is not as productive and positive as it should be. Often, people in different areas of the organisation, or different levels of the hierarchy, disagree on what that something is.

Getting to the crux of a problem requires its definition, and running around to put out symptomatic fires is not the same as finding a solution. Whether your organisation is large or small, whatever your sector, and whatever your objectives or history, there’s one really good place to start. It’s asking the following questions:

1. What is the vision for this organisation? In other words, where is this organisation headed in the next 2 years, 3 years, 5 years? If I asked the people who report to you, what would they say? If I asked the people who report to them, what would they say?

2. How do you know you are doing a good job? Where do you get this information? Is it adequate? If I asked the people who report to you, what would they say? If I asked the people who report to them, what would they say? 

Asking these questions is helpful in unsettling your assumptions, or as least identifying them. We use them with our clients as a starting point for determining their current state and designing their desired future state. Being able to answer these questions about your vision and your current performance – and recognising gaps in your knowledge – will help usefully structure the information you have. This enables the design of worthwhile, effective interventions.

Sometimes, you have to get to know a couple of trees really well before you can see the forest. We get a lot of satisfaction out of helping our clients get to that vantage point, and find their way through.

At LKS Quaero, we work with clients to dig down into their problems and create sustainable, effective interventions. For more information, visit us at lksquaero.com or follow us on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter.

 

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