Do You Have an Issues List? Here’s Why You Need One

Why You Need an Issues List

When I work with companies implementing the Entrepreneurial Operating System, my goal is to strengthen the six components of their businesses. One of these is the Issues component.

By focusing on the Issues component, we can clear the obstacles that are holding these companies back from gaining traction and creating sustainable growth.

There are two primary tools we use to manage and solve problems within the Issues component. The first is the Issues List.

Here’s how it works:

  • Your leadership team establishes and maintains a list of issues you’re facing in the business.
  • An issue can be a concern, a problem or an obstacle—anything that’s holding your organization back.
  • On a regular basis, such as during a Level 10 meeting, anyone on the team has the ability to add to the Issues List.

Ultimately, the goal of the Issues List is simply to get issues out in the open. Not to solve them, not to evaluate them, not to judge them. Just to get them out in the open. Improving them and resolving them comes later in the Issues process.

To give you a few examples, here are a few issues I’ve seen with my clients:

  • Eroding gross margins due to poor pricing practices.
  • An idea or an opportunity, such as bringing greater value to customers through a new product.
  • An obstacle to customers purchasing your product, such as a buggy credit card processing system.

Maintaining an Issues List should be an ongoing discipline. Anytime you run into an obstacle, a problem or an opportunity that opens up, add it to the Issues List. When you’re meeting on a regular basis and adding issues to that list as they come up, you’ll discover that the Issues List creates a habit. This habit allows individual leadership team members to voice their concerns and truly be heard.

Now, here’s the most important part of the Issues List: Every team member should be able to put anything on that list. Your team needs to trust one another—and listen to each other.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat in on a leadership team meeting and someone will say, “You know, I’m not even going to bring that up anymore.” Or, “I can’t put that on the Issues List.”

This really hinders your ability to grow. If you’re not being open and honest about your issues, you’re not moving forward.

However, when Leadership Teams have the opportunity to brainstorm in a safe and welcome environment, the truth will really come out. You’ll finally get your Issues out in the open, and you’ll create the opportunity to solve them, once and for all.

That’s why every organization could benefit from maintaining an Issues List.

To discover more about using an Issues List to help your organization move forward, listen to Episode #15 of the Growing Leaders, Growing Companies podcast: Solve Your Most Pressing Issues and Remove Your Obstacles to Healthy Growth.


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