2 Tactics to Identify Root Causes in Record Time

Mike Kotsis EOS - Entrepreneurial Operating System, Small Business Leave a Comment


tree roots by a river _ Identify Root Causes

On the journey to becoming great, every team struggles with root cause analysis. I’ve found that my clients fall into one of two camps: 1) They don’t dig deep enough to uncover the real issues or 2) they overanalyze everything and make the issue into something bigger than it really is.

As Gino Wickman writes in Traction, identifying the real issue isn’t easy. But you can have greater success with the Identify step of IDS by breaking it down into one of three types of issues:

  • Information – You have information to share with the group so that everyone is on the same page.
  • Brainstorm – You need ideas from the group.
  • Problem – There’s a problem that needs to be solved, and you will need to figure out what the real problem is before you can fix it.

Many teams get stuck because when they introduce the issue, they don’t state which type of issue they’re bringing up. Providing context by stating the type of issue first can help everyone to align with your thinking and needs.

Handpicked related content: What If Your Issues List Isn’t Working?

How to Identify Root Causes

When you hvae a problem to solve, here’s how to identify the root cause more effectively. There are two techniques that can help you identify root causes faster than you’ve ever done before.

1) Use the 6 key components of EOS

Every problem will fall into one of these six key components of your business:

  • Vision
  • People
  • Data
  • Issues
  • Process
  • Traction
EOS Model 6 Key Components

By simply asking the question, “Which of the Six Key Components is this issue coming from?” you can narrow the issue down to one area. Each component has two EOS tools, which you can then use to determine the specific root cause.

For example, the root cause often comes from the People component. It tends to be something that the team already knows, but it’s an uncomfortable issue, so they often avoid it. But once they narrow the root cause to the People component, they can use the EOS People Analyzer to evaluate whether the person in question really shares their core values. And they can GWC the person to determine whether or not they’re really in the right seat.

2) Five Leadership Abilities

At one Quarterly Session, the team was stuck and had hit the ceiling. Their work-life balance was out of whack, and they had slipped on overall company performance. They felt stretched much more than they had in the past. The good news was that the company was growing at a rate of more than 20 percent, which they had not experienced in the last 20 years.

So we looked at the five leadership abilities that every team needs in order to break through when they hit the ceiling. We did a quick review of the five leadership abilities:

  • Simplify
  • Delegate
  • Predict
  • Systemize
  • Structure

The team quickly determined the root cause of why they were stuck. The ability that stood out from the others was “Structure.” They realized that they hadn’t evolved the structure of their business fast enough to keep up with the new growth pace.

We went to the tool that strengthens structure – The Accountability Chart – and they clearly saw that they needed to restructure part of their business with a forward-looking focus. By identifying this root cause and a creating plan to free themselves up, they greatly relieved the pressure in the room—and more importantly, they solved a meaty issue in record time simply by going back to the five leadership abilities!

Start Solving Problems Faster!

If your team is struggling to identify the root causes of your issues, try these two tactics. You’ll be amazed how quickly and effectively you can fix problems and take your company to the next level.

Do you want your team to root cause and solve issues faster? Let’s schedule a meeting to see how I can help.


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