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What is Missing?

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They are not getting to the heart of the problem. It is not enough to tell the individual that they are breaking the rules, or that a colleague has to cover their tasks when they are late. If it were enough, the behavior would stop.

You can learn a lesson from this that will help you help customers. Ask yourself what is really bothering you to get at what is really bothering them. Often the behavior touches a nerve that is much more personal. For example, if you do a favor for a friend, and then they demand more from you, you may feel that they are taking advantage of the relationship. That is at a much deeper level than just the rules that are being broken.

If the person is perpetually late because they do not set their alarm (and get up to it) because they really do not care about their job, or they feel underutilized, or they are being bullied by a co-worker and cannot drag themselves into the office, then we are getting at the root of the real problem.

The ability to peel an issue back to its core takes patience and precision. Sometimes we do not do this because it can take time to uncover the real problem. We can often find ourselves in too much of a hurry to do this properly. At other times, our emotions get involved and we make a decision that we really do not want to go there because we will also have to deal with what is bothering us.

If you do not stop to think about the big picture, you will end up either missing the problem or going after too many problems at once. To stop yourself from being over-involved, you must be able to state the problem in a single sentence. If you make it longer, your conversation will lose focus as soon as it starts.