When leaders are attached to problems

By William Seidman Are some leaders more committed to keeping a problem alive than to actually solving it? An executive we know asked a trusted employee to fix a particular organizational performance problem. The employee did a careful analysis of the issue, shopped around, and found a performance improvement solution (us). When she brought the solution back to her boss, he no longer cared about solving the problem. A lot of time and energy had been expended to help solve a problem that, evidently, was not going to be addressed any time soon. Similar process: a performance issue bubbled up from some regional trainers. One trainer was charged with analyzing the situation. He presented a solution to three successive levels of management. The reactions were uniformly positive. Each level of management agreed that this was a significant issue needing a solution. A top VP vetoed the idea. Everyone’s work had been essentially for nothing. I’ve chatted with several other people working in the performance improvement business and they have had similar experiences: a performance improvement opportunity is generated, there is widespread agreement that this is a real problem/opportunity, the solution looks good, but it gets shut down by an executive with veto power. When leaders trust employees to find good answers, and the employees do the legwork, why the sudden withdrawal of that trust? Is it only about money, or are some leaders actually attached to their problems? Makes you wonder!]]>

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