As I look back on 2018 this week, I reflected on the problems, issues, surprises, and things I didn’t anticipate. The list was long. And that’s a good thing. Huh? How can problems be a good thing? Well they can be a very good thing if you frame them correctly.

  1. Dig into the root cause of every problem you had with the business in 2018. And assume you will have the same types of problems in 2019. But I don’t mean root cause analysis just so you can solve them. Of course, you must do that but that is the place where most people stop. Dig in harder and discover what every problem tells you about the business. In every problem is the seed of a fundamental flaw or weakness in the business.
  2. Look back at last year’s unpleasant surprises. I would bet they fell into the same general categories. Then do a deep dive to learn how they could have been avoided. In the heat of the battle, it is to easy to get caught up in problem solving then moving on to the next one. Equally important, when the dust settles, is to discover the fundamental conditions that gave rise to the problem to begin with.