Overloaded with issues? Find out how to gain Traction® with IDS™ — the problem-solving process every employee needs to identify, discuss and solve issues like a pro.
If you look up the definition for ‘issues’ in the dictionary, you’ll get something along the lines of:
“An important topic or problem for debate or discussion.”
Which is kinda funny, really. Because how often are company issues left undiscussed, unaired, and unresolved?
In reality: Daily.
The truth is, identifying, discussing, and solving issues can be hard work, time-consuming, and often a little… awkward. But, if we’re honest, we’d all rather sweep those issues under the rug.
But for EOS Worldwide founder Gino Wickman, issues are one of the most essential areas of business that everyone needs to face up to.
This is precisely why he placed the Issues Component™ at the heart of his Entrepreneurial Operating System® — a set of tools and concepts to help savvy entrepreneurs elevate their businesses.
To help entrepreneurs the world over get to grips with their issues, he introduced the process of IDS™ into the EOS Toolbox™.
And we’re here to find out precisely what IDS means, why it’s so crucial, and how taking a process-led approach to applying it can skyrocket your company’s results.
Strapped in? It’s time for lift-off.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- What is the Issues Component?
- IDS — what it stands for how to use it to gain Traction®
- When and where to use IDS to boost Traction®
- Issues – IDS = Impending doom
What is the Issues Component?
EOS has Six Key Components™: Vision, People, Data, Issues, Process, and Traction.
And the Issues Component is one we can all relate to.
As Julia Michaels says, “I got issues, you got ‘em too”. And nowhere is that truer than in the world of business.
If you’re looking to strengthen this component, you’ll want to focus on problem-solving.
That means knowing:
- What issues you have
- How they can be fixed
- And implementing that fix ASAP
Because your company’s success is ultimately tied to your ability to do precisely that.
So while issues are easily avoided in the short term, you can bet they’re coming back to bite you in the future if you don’t face them head on as and when they occur.
And the IDS process is a straightforward way to make sure that happens.
“The fourth essential component of gaining Traction is having the discipline to face and solve your organization’s issues as they arise.”
Gino WickmanTraction: Get a Grip on Your Business
What does IDS mean?
IDS (or the Issues Solving Track™ as it’s often referred to) is an acronym for ‘Identify’, ‘Discuss’, and ‘Solve’.
It aims to do precisely what it says it will by providing a process for:
- Identifying your issues
- Discussing them as a team
- Solving them, so they don’t crop up again
Let’s take a look at each stage of that process.
Identify what the root cause is
Most people find an issue and think that’s the problem they need to fix.
But more often than not, the issue is actually just a symptom of another, often bugger problem bubbling beneath the surface. And the only way to stop it from boiling over, again and again, is to drill right down.
To do that, you’ll want to ask ‘why’ 3-5 times (maybe even more) to really get to the bottom of what’s causing the headache.
- Sales are down — why?
- Well, the sales team has a few empty seats — why?
- Because we haven’t had any applications — why?
- Because the compensation offered just isn’t competitive.
In this case, it would be easy here to blame the sales team. But that’s the wrong approach. The root cause is actually in the budget planning and misallocation of resources, it just took a little extra digging to get there.
Discuss what solutions are available
There’s a saying ‘two heads are better than one’. And when it comes to discussing company issues, that’s true — the more heads, the better.
In the discussion section of your IDS meeting, you need to get everything on the table. And everyone needs to contribute. Because you never know whose insights are going to prove valuable.
IDS Traction top tip:
A productive discussion time needs the right environment and the right people involved. So if you’re leading the charge, remember to:
- Ensure all relevant stakeholders are in the room.
- Create a space where everyone in the room feels they can be open and honest.
- Keep it simple and don’t overcomplicate the issue or get into the weeds of other issues. Deal with them later. For now, stay on track and stick to the process.
- Be aware of potential conflict. Issues can cause chaos if it becomes a finger-pointing contest. But conflict can create clarity too. So aim for a healthy and productive dialogue.
Example: If sales are down, and the reason for that is budget, finance/HR/recruitment need to be involved in your IDS meeting.
Chances are, it’s not going to be them who call out the fundamental issue of low salary. It’ll be your sales team who are suffering because of it. And if the environment isn’t right, they won’t feel comfortable or confident offering up the answer you need to bring about change.
Solve the issue, permanently
It’s all well and good to identify the problem and discuss how it arose, but if you never actually nail the problem-solving portion of IDS and action that plan, it’s a total waste of time.
In this section of the IDS meeting, vocalize as many solutions as the group can come up with.
Then, as a group, decide which solution genuinely solves the problem best. Whether that’s the quickest, most cost-effective, or longest-lasting solution. Whatever your rationale, the group agrees, formulates a plan of action, and sets to work implementing the fix.
IDS Traction top tip:
Unanimity is a luxury. Everyone rarely agrees. That’s why it’s essential to assign someone the role of making that final decision if total alignment isn’t possible. Usually, this will be your EOS Integrator™.
Make it clear to everyone at the start of the process that once a decision has been made on how to move forward, that decision is final, and everyone gets it.
Example: If finance didn’t agree that salary was the root issue of fewer sales, but everyone else in the room did, the Integrator (of final decision maker) would have an ultimate say. Whatever they go with, the group goes with too (including finance).
Where and when do I use IDS to gain Traction?
The great news is, once you’ve nailed the rhythm, IDS can be used to gain Traction in your business anywhere and everywhere, across all business functions and at all levels.
From significant issues like ‘a 20% revenue drop’, to seemingly trivial issues like ‘the coffee machine queue is always too long’.
That’s why it’s also critical to have your IDS process documented, accessible, and scaled company-wide. Because if every employee can use it and use it effectively, you’re well on your way to producing better results at every juncture.
IDS meetings can also be held whenever, as well as wherever. But one of the critical moments is at the end of your Level 10 Meeting™.
During the first five L10 meeting stages, issues will arise. But rather than dealing with them then and there, you pop them on the EOS issues list to deal with at the end of the meeting.
The last 60 minutes of the meeting are spent solely on that list, applying the IDS process to as many issues as possible in that time frame.
And if employees have an issue that crops up outside of the L10 meeting? Well, there’s no reason they can’t apply a smaller, more informal IDS process of their own.
As long as they know where to find that process!
When IDS goes MIA 🙈
If you leave an issue unresolved for too long, no matter how big or small, it’s going to have an impact on your employee’s satisfaction and your success as a business.
Neither of which will lead anywhere positive.
And that’s why problem-solving can’t just be left to a single team member or even a leadership team. Instead, every seat within the company has to possess the power to identify, discuss and solve issues within their role daily.
But if there’s no simplified and streamlined way of doing that, no process guiding that problem-solving initiative, then the results you get are going to be seriously varied.
Take the drop in sales example we talked about earlier. If you’d left that one to the finance team, would they really have looked so introspectively? Or would they have taken the easy route and blamed the sales team’s efforts?
Who’s to say. But it sure is easier to ensure every member of your organization knows what the IDS process is, where to find it and how to apply it.
“Issues are opportunities.”
According to EOS Co-Founder Don Tinney, issues don’t have to be the headache we often see them as.
Instead, they can be great opportunities to grow, collaborate and try something new.
But if you don’t effectively manage how your employees manage their IDS meetings, there’s really no point in having them.
So if you’re ready to eliminate those issues, empower your employees and boost business efficiency, then an accessible IDS process is the way to go.
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