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Have You Experienced the *Chicken Little* Syndrome?

Eight Problem Resolution Phases by
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Every day in business and/or our personal lives we encounter situations that at first appear to be catastrophic. After a little investigation we often find things are not as bad as they first appeared. How do you handle these situations? Do the people involved go running around as in the story we all know, Chicken Little? I refer to this crazy reaction as the *Chicken Little* syndrome.

I have found that if you address the problem in eight (8) phases each and every time, you can counter these situations very efficiently and effectively.

The 8 phases are

Phase 1. Keep the emotions in check. Emotional control gives you the edge in these types of situations because it allows you to think clearly and make rational decisions.

Phase 2. Define the real problem. Ask the people involved what the real problem is; you need to get this defined clearly before any other actions are taken or you are wasting your time as well as others.

Phase 3. Double check to verify the problem. Always double check the facts, data measurements, original plans or whatever triggered the issue in the first place. This is also a critical step because you do not want to be chasing or reacting to non-problems. In most cases, seek out the person who discovered the problem and review with them what the facts are. Sometimes the problem is only communication or a misunderstanding. If the facts warrant, you may be able to resolve the situation at this phase.

Phase 4. Understand the magnitude of the problem. After you have in fact verified there is a problem, now you must understand the impact. What ramifications will this problem cause to support groups, customers or family members? Will it shut down the manufacturing process, is safety involved and so on?

Phase 5. Containment. Try and understand if this affects a single item or multiple items in work that may have been shipped outside your facility. If the problem is product related, you must go to both sides of the supply chain to determine the effect on previously produced products. Try to establish boundaries for the problem. Have you heard of something called a *Recall*?

Phase 6. Investigate and define root cause. Determine the most efficient way to determine the root cause; depending on the problem, this phase can take many different paths and required actions.

Phase 7. Correction. Simple, find it fix it. Keep in mind the economics involved when evaluating any correction of a problem.

Phase 8. Closure. Communicate to all affected parties in a clear and concise manner. More often in business, the management team knows the problem, what it takes to fix it, and if there are additional resources or costs involved. Beyond that, spare the details unless you are requested to provide them to someone.

One of the key threads throughout this whole process is your ability to communicate with affected personnel. As you can tell, this takes an organized approach but still relies on your leadership ability to manage the process and closure of each phase. One suggestion is to utilize this approach on a smaller problem just to see how it works for you and gain some experience to improve your skill set. You will be successful; try it.

Kent Jacobson, a.k.a. "Mr. Success" is a trusted authority in the success field and provides valuable success information for free through his website at: . You can also read Kent's Success Blog to find more success secrets at:

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Kent Jacobson
Success, Financial and Personal Growth
Kent Jacobson's web site

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