The Issues Solving Track we teach is known as IDS, which is an acronym for “identify,” “discuss,” and “solve.” It is the simplest and best problem solving tool I’ve ever used.

The way it works is that you take your list of issues and choose the most important one. First, identify the real root of the issue and agree on what you’re about to discuss. Second, discuss it; this means that everyone says what he or she has to say about the issue, being open and honest and saying it only once (if you say it more than once, you’re politicking). Third, once it’s all out on the table, move to solving it; this is where you decide the best solution for the greater good of your organization. Then someone takes the action as a to-do and moves forward to complete it and make the problem go away forever. You then move to the next most important issue.

Here’s the tidy little bow: At the end of IDS, before moving on to solve the next issue, have someone restate the “solve” statement, the solution, to make sure everyone on the team agrees with the conclusion. Surprisingly, when you do this, 50 percent of the time there will be more dialogue, and that’s a good thing. There’s more dialogue because you’ll find that everyone didn’t agree entirely on the solution, and you can’t move forward until everyone does (or can at least live with the decision). If you don’t do this, you’ll lose hundreds of hours on countless unresolved issues that resurface and cause confusion, disagreement, and lack of clarity.

Once again, just restate the conclusion at the end of IDS for each issue. Until you hear the sweet sound of agreement, do not move on to the next issue. Try it this week.

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