This past week I took a few minutes and made a list of everything that could be wrong with Nebraska football. This is not a list of what I think is wrong, but a comprehensive list of possibilities. I loaded up a piece of mindmapping software and did a "brainstorm", and below is what I came up with. (Were we engaged in politics or talk radio, each one of these items might be considered "talking points.")
List making is a normal approach to problem solving. When confronted with a network failure, for example, I typically start by making a list of all possible causes, even if some sound ridiculous. (Years ago, I mentioned that our problem with a network might be "TCR's"; trained communist rats who were in the ceiling chewing on network wires. "TCR's" made the potential causes list if for no other reason that breaking up the tension.)
There is no order to this list, nor is there any type of grouping, although perhaps that should come next. Before I do that, I'd like your input on whether or not there is anything missing from the list.
When I mention grouping, I am talking about aligning objects that are obviously related - those that by removal automatically eliminate other problems from the list. For example, you might think that the offense is too complex, that there is too much passing, and the team is too soft. Those problems might be solved all together by bringing in a new coach who prefers a simplified run-first offense, although we could have considerable debate on whether that would automatically solve the team's problem of being "too soft".
Different people will prioritize problems differently. It's obvious that firing a coach is a very high priority for many because it's so often the answer that fans present when confronted with an underperforming team - note that this is not just Nebraska fans. For reference: show me a team who's lost a game and whose fans like their offensive coordinator.
You might be convinced to lie to yourself as a way of getting through the process of problem solving. You might tell yourself that replacing the coach will automatically solve the problems with team leadership and confidence. You might convince yourself that bringing in better players will solve problems of poor coaching.
Human beings routinely lie to themselves. We have a habit of believing there is an "Easy" button, that solving one issue will automatically make every other problem go away. This applies to your teams at work as much as it does Nebraska football.
Wouldn't everything be better if you had a different boss? Wouldn't work be more satisfying if Bob, the one guy who complains about everything, would get a different job?
Take a look at the list and tell us what's missing. That's your assignment for this morning!
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