Ready to Finally Solve that Organizational Problem? Ask a Local

The guy in the photo (below) is my nephew. He lives in New York City. Recently, my family and I spent a weekend with him in the Big Apple.

The excursion led me to an insight about your organization.

Assuming that your organization is made-up of people, processes, programs, etc., I bet that you are struggling to solve a problem or two.

Pretty insightful, right?

Hang in there, I have more to share. Do any of these situations resonate? You’ve:

  • Read every book you can find on the topic of your problem and attempted to implement the ideas you uncovered. Yet, you are still running into the same issues.
  • Invested countless hours Googling about the problem in an attempt to learn how other companies have tackled the challenge. Yet, the problem persists.
  • Spent considerable time, energy, and money on outside counsel and training classes to deal with the problem. Yet, the training wears off and things go back to normal.

If any of these situations resinate with you, take a look at this video as I share my thoughts on what you should do next.

Here’s the reality

Few people in your organization know more about a given project, task, or activity than those who work on it, with it, or near it on a daily basis. These frontline employees are your locals. Yet, when our organizations are faced with problems, we rarely take the time to gain a local’s perspective.

Whether our intentions are positive (e.g., we don’t want to distract locals from what they are doing), negative (e.g., we don’t want to “waste” time asking locals), or somewhere else on the intention spectrum, we often travel down a well worn path. We dream up the answer or employ outside resources to create a solution; then, we spring it on our employees.

Sure, we explain the reasoning behind the solution, discuss why it makes sense, and convey how the solution will make a difference. We wrap the solution up in nice words and, if the deal is big enough, we even serve food.

We do all of this in an effort to minimize objections and gain employee buy-in.

Buy-in is good, but in most cases its insufficient.

If you want to create a solution that will solve the problem today and into the future, reading a book or hiring a consultant may be a great start; however, don’t miss the chance to involve a local.

Locals live in the area, have a different perspective, and can often provide new and unexpected insights.


Photo by Andre Benz on Unsplash