Great leaders don't just problem solve, they discover problems before they mushroom into large-scale failures.
Problems remain hidden in organizations for a number of reasons, including fear, organizational complexity, gatekeepers who insulate leaders from problems that are coming up, and finally, an overemphasis on formal analysis in place of intuition and observation. This book lays out the key skills and capabilities required to ensure that problems do not remain hidden in your organization. It explains how leaders can become effective problem finders, unearthing problems before they destroy an organization. The book explains how leaders can become an anthropologist, going out and observe how employees, customers, and suppliers actually behave. It then goes on to present how they can circumvent the gatekeepers, so they can go directly to the source to see and hear the raw data; hunt for patterns, including refining your individual and collective pattern recognition capability; "connect the dots" among issues that may initially seem unrelated, but in fact, have a great deal in common; give front-line employees training in a communication technique; encourage useful mistakes, including create a "Red Pencil Award"; and watch the game film, where leaders reflect systematically on their own organization's conduct and performance, as well as on the behavior and performance of competitors.
About the Author xv
Chapter 1 From Problem-Solving to Problem-Finding 1
Chapter 2 Circumvent the Gatekeepers 27
Chapter 3 Become an Ethnographer 53
Chapter 4 Hunt for Patterns 73
Chapter 5 Connect the Dots 95
Chapter 6 Encourage Useful Failures 119
Chapter 7 Teach How to Talk and Listen 139
Chapter 8 Watch the Game Film 161
Chapter 9 The Mindset of a Problem-Finder 185