list are important

Why Issues Lists Are Necessary

Blog # 202

Within my session space, I have recently come into the modern electronic world kicking and screaming. I added two 65-inch monitors with wireless connections, which works well for reviewing documents. The biggest benefit is that this allows me to capture and create an ongoing Issues List while working with clients. These new screens allow me to use my computer. Translation: there is spell check (my spelling blows) and I am no longer subjecting my teams to my unfathomably bad handwriting.

Opportunities and Challenges

I am not a big fan of the phrase “Issues List”. Instead, I prefer “Opportunities and Challenges”. The word “issues” tends to have a negative connotation. However, this doesn’t have to be the case; they can be opportunities, challenges, issues, and even mundane maintenance or administrative items.

Here are three primary reasons why an Opportunities and Challenges (aka Issues) List can be extremely valuable:

  1. You get the idea out of your head and memorialized somewhere.
    • I am amazed of the value of this alone. Formalizing a documented place to list items that need to be addressed – that you know you will check and review on an established basis – has immense value. This applies for good, bad, short-term, and long-term ideas.
  2. Provides a “big picture” perspective.
    • Having the visual aid of two 65-inch monitors or five flip chart pages filled with Opportunities and Challenges can be overwhelming and intimidating – that’s just part of it. Still, as the leaders of your organization, there is a lot you need to do, but you simply can’t do it ALL. This big picture will help you to prioritize and focus.
  3. Helps to identify trends.
    • When there is a full list of items (I think the record in an annual session was 167), you will begin seeing that most of what is listed are symptoms of something bigger. This “something bigger” is often more of the core issue; when addressed, a whole slew of the listed symptoms is mitigated.

Clean Up Your List

Once you have gone through your list and created your new objectives, it’s time to clean up your list. If the item has been addressed, remove it. If it hasn’t and you still need to address it, define to which “parking lot” it will be assigned. I like the EOS version that suggests having two parking lots: a short-term parking lot for the weekly meetings and a long-term parking lot that is reviewed each quarter. The intention here is that if an item made it to the list, it is important. The question is: does it have to be addressed in a weekly meeting or this quarter? This will determine the item’s designated parking lot and will keep the team focused on other things. The benefit of this process is that it ensures certain items don’t fall through the cracks and that they will be reviewed during the next interval. This process not only serves leadership teams, but it also works well on a departmental level.

The fun part is when you start seeing a shift in the items listed – from reactive needs to proactive desires. When this happens, your organization is preparing for liftoff.

How are you handling Opportunities and Challenges that arise? What can you do today to simplify the process? We can help you answer these questions! Reach out to us today to learn more.

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