The problem that we see, the thing that is visible to us, typically isn’t really the problem. What we see is the manifestation of a root cause issue; something underlying.
We say things like “we have a profit problem” or “we have a quality problem” when those aren’t the issues at all. These “problems” are simply how other root causes are being expressed.
The visible expression, what we think of as as the problem, is the “behavior.” But the root cause, the real problem, is internal; it’s rooted in our identity. This can be true organizationally or personally.
For instance, a quality problem may be linked to a lack of training. A profit problem may be linked to numerous root causes, or a broad issue like lack of organizational health.
It’s important to know the underlying issue or issues because otherwise we invest time and money solving the wrong thing; the external thing; the behavior.
It takes time, reflection, self-awareness, listening, and study to identify the underlying issues and get to work on them. But until we do, any progress is temporary and difficult. If the root isn’t fixed the problem wont go away. That’s why New Year’s resolutions typically don’t last. Real change requires a shift; a transformation; from the inside not outside.
We need to view things differently. People are great at seeing the outside when it’s what’s inside that defines the outcome.
“Out of the heart, the mouth speaks,” and other examples express this clearly.