Commitment to the Wrong Problem

We are taught A-B-C in management schools.

  • Change ATTITUDE
  • Thereby, you can change BEHAVIOR
  • Consequently, you can get COMMITMENT.

Dr J M Juran, the Quality Guru, questioned this approach. Especially, the first step. He believed a change in ATTITUDE is not a switch On-Off option. His wisdom professed that a change in ATTITUDE always has its own majestic pace.

  • Dr Juran was of the view that we should aim for COMMITMENT first
  • This COMMITMENT would define the required change in BEHAVIOR
  • And God willing, in some time we may realise a change in ATTITUDE.

His approach was therefore C-B-A! This approach has delivered dramatic results. Particularly, in the context of structured problem solving.

In the words of Stephen R Covey, the Leadership Guru: “Any time you think the problem is “öut there”, that very thought is the problem”.

Based on three decades of Qimpro’s experience in India with corporates, hospitals, and educational institutions, we have realized that the toughest step in problem solving is PROBLEM DEFINITION. Invariably, we work on a wrongly defined problem, with assigned blame.

So, imagine the chaos when we get a COMMITMENT to the WRONG PROBLEM!! Blame, blame, and more blame.

Who is accountable for this chaos? Top leadership exclusively.


3 thoughts on “Commitment to the Wrong Problem”

  • I agree problem definition is the key. In fact 99 percent of the problem is solved if defined correctly. The problem is that we think and behave in silos and don’t think and behave from the customers perspective

  • Practically, we do face these challenges, especially in projects involving large stake holders. In a project management parlance, frequent changes in Scope – is nothing but a symptom of error in problem definition.

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