Leadership is often couched as a process to solving problems by way of calculated decision making. And as we all know, good leadership is often recognized through the prism of the “right” decisions that were made in the course of addressing a problem.
But, there are times when leaders make poor decisions that can set back the course of a process. Do a series of these “bad” decisions make one a poor leader? Not necessarily.
In any analysis of a designed process, conducting after action reviews are critical opportunities for learning. It is often critical to the success of your operations to be able to recover quickly following a miscalculation.
Visionary leaders use these opportunities not only to assess the pathways and connections of the process in question, but to learn new lessons that often influence how they approach future decision making moments.
In industrial settings like the car business or other heavy manufacturing the use of Kaizen or continuous improvement problem solving techniques has been standard operating procedure for decades. But with people-focused organizations, continuous improvement is becoming more common.
How can you as a leader start utilizing continuous improvement process design techniques to help recover from poor decisions that can impact your organization? Here are some suggestions:
Take an inventory of how you currently deal with problem recovery. Does your organization have a documented repeatable system to address process deviations?
Conduct an informal survey of your team to see if there is consensus on how problem solving is conducted and how best practices are formed following process deviation. Hearing from different parts of your organization will help broaden your perspective on what can b a critical nexus between meta-skills and technical skills.
Try to identify if there is a mapped process that can be measured. Seeing what an understood process looks like goes a long way to figuring out how you can spot where you went wrong in your decision making process.
Share your findings with everyone in your organization. Widening the scope of participants will increase the likelihood of finding a set of “fixes” that will be accepted by your organization. This also promotes the notion that everyone has a role to play in recovering from decisions that don’t pan out as planned.
Seek out expert process design help inside or outside of your organization to help formalize the way you approach problem solving and recovery on your team. It’s important to have people that have familiarity and experience in process design to help leaders think through these kinds of issues.
We all make mistakes in life. It is expected. How we choose to respond can mean the difference between achieving lasting success in the future and being susceptible to repeating the same mistakes.
Taking a measured approach and formalizing the way your organization tackles problem solving is a great way to show visionary leadership.