1. Lessons In Leadership

Water Damage

You have to get to the source to solve the real problem.

Of all the calamities that can befall homeowners, the one I dread most is water damage. In my experience, you often have to incur more destruction to your home — provoking additional, expensive-to-fix repairs — before you can solve the problem. That’s because the place where the water damage first appears is rarely the source of the leak. Water has a sneaky way of seeping in through a small hole in the front porch roof and puddling behind the TV in the family room. You can replaster and paint the damaged wall, but the problem will keep reappearing until you find it and repair the roof. 

The same thing is true with plumbing problems; it can take several holes knocked into the drywall before the source of the leak can be identified and repaired. Stop-gap measures can buy you some time, but usually at a cost. And there’s always the health risk of mildew and black mold.

I’ve found this to be an apt analogy for fixing organizational challenges. Systemic problems that manifest as missed deadlines, upset customers, and budget overruns may indicate the need for a complete operational overhaul. The temptation is to mop up the water and hope the problem just goes away. It won’t. Do the hard work. Be transparent about your intentions and set the expectation that things may get worse before they get better. You may have to knock down some crumbling silos and construct a few new bridges, but at least you’ll be ready to weather the next storm.

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