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SER Tough Issues That Sabotage Business Performance

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At a financial publishing business where I recently consulted, one leader describes the process that he learned to help his people uncover the issues that were sabotaging their performance and resolve them to grow into a more effective team.

There are a lot of ways that organizations sabotage their own performance. One is the inability of leaders and teams to find deep clarity and tight alignment in surfacing, examining, and resolving (SER) important issues that are often at the heart of that sabotage.

Overcoming the sabotage by working to be more deeply clear and more tightly aligned can close the Execution Gap within a team or across teams and lead to improved performance.

I work with leaders and their teams to SER, or Surface, Examine and Resolve, for resolving deep-seated issues that are hindering team performance.

Bill, a recent client, shared his understanding of SER in a video testimonial about how he benefitted from M4S coaching.

His pothole analogy shows his understanding of the concept and that although not everyone sees the pothole, all are affected by it. His statement that “the team comes together” is fundamental. Each member of the team must be comfortable enough to bring an issue to everyone’s attention.

  1. Surface: Acknowledge that there is a problem and agree on what the real problem is.
  2. Examine: Carefully examine the issue to find the root causes and how it impacts performance.
  3. Resolve: Be clear and aligned on a resolution to address the issue once and for all.

His explanation proves that he has a good grasp of the concept and how it can be implemented to close the Execution Gap for his team.

In Bill’s next example, another team needs to step in to rescue his team because his team lacks the required training. This is creating tension and inefficiencies. Bill and his team have surfaced the issue that is creating an Execution Gap for both teams.

Bill again highlights the importance of getting feedback from everyone on the team. He notes that he works with smart, talented people, that they will see things he won’t, and that they need to feel safe enough to bring these issues to the team for resolution. The team needs to be empowered to share the issues, weigh in during the examination, and present their ideas for how to resolve them.

This psychological safety within the team allows each team member to share their ideas with the team. It is a vital component of getting clearer and more tightly aligned as a group to become an efficient, highly functional team.

A process like SER takes time to evolve. The team needs to own the process and mold it to fit how they communicate and work. Again, Bill understands and communicates this well.

This client now has a repeatable process that they can share with the rest of the organization. No team stands alone, and other teams, seeing their success, can learn from them how to put the SER process in motion. With each iteration, the Execution Gap can become less and the organization will realize gains in performance.

It is fascinating to see how the people I coach come to their own understanding of these processes. No two teams, even within one organization, will use the SER process in exactly the same way. But when a leader in the organization shows the depth of understanding of the concept as clearly as Bill, the process can spread through the organization to the benefit of all of the teams that choose to use it.

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