A black stain on a patterned shirt might not be noticeable. The same stain on a white shirt would be an eyesore. Your focal point changes when you look at things in different contexts and perspectives. For the same token, a proper resolution of a business issue requires a clear understanding of what is at stake.
A client in the finance industry had been hearing a lot from her team about the pains in updating their client profiles. To prepare for a client meeting, her account reps would send a request to the administrative staff for an up-to-date client profile. This could take some time when information is needed from investment fund companies and insurance underwriters. She also heard that there were problems with the system and the validity of the requests.
With only anecdotal information, my client didn’t have a good sense of the significance of the issues. She decided to investigate. Upon the review, she found that:
- The update process was cumbersome but constrained by the technology the third-party companies have
- Update requests had been pared down to a minimum
- The work consumed less than one full-time employee on the team
The true culprit was a lack of guidelines on the extent of the update needed. With better information, my client determined that the best solution was to develop the guidelines. A long-term proper solution would have been working with the third-party companies to improve systems. Given that the effort consumed less than one employee and there were other urgent priorities, establishing the guidelines would help to further reduce the amount of update information required from third-parties. This solution was adequate in the interim.
When a problem is presented in the proper context and perspective, you have a better understanding of the issues. This helps to devise the appropriate strategy to manage the situation.