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On the path to ‘quality of life’, people often find themselves facing the same problem again and again.  Perhaps it’s the same relationship with a different face and name. Perhaps is it’s our time slipping away because of an unanticipated visitor that, once we reclaim it, slips away again.  The face of the problem changes, but the pattern repeats.

We support a local non-profit school called Montessori in the Park (www.mipschool.org). At the end of the school year, one of the student’s grand-parents gave us a very nice house plant, thanking us for helping their child throughout the year.  After the first weekend the plant wilted and turned yellow.  We thought all it needed water and it did. With water, the wilt went away but the plant was still turning yellow and then beginning to turn brown.  We took a picture to a plant expert and asked them to help. The plant expert told us that the plant was rootbound in its pot and explained to us what this meant and how to fix it.  The fix was simple…repot the plant. After repotting, the plant is doing fine.

This is a problem many of our clients face.  They have a problem, they think they know the solution but it only Band-Aids the problem because they don’t look at the root.  Problems are never what they seem and addressing the symptoms without fixing the root that is causing the problems.

Problems recur and costs continue to rise if you don’t find the true cause and instead only “spot fix” the symptoms.  Some organizations apply their cause determination process to the big events, that are a significant impact and do not think about using a simpler process, such as “Five-Why” on the smaller activities that do not go as they should.  In the aggregate, these smaller activities can add up to be more of an impact than the single larger events.  The answers are often simple, but sometimes you need an expert to help you know what you need to do.

Does your organization have a threshold for larger events that need a cause determination? Do you have a process for finding the cause of lower level activities that compound? Should you?

If you are finding yourself facing a problem that seems to recur with a different face and different name, perhaps it’s time you contact an expert to help you fix the roots.