How do you solve a problem you can’t define?

One of the most common mistakes I see entrepreneurs make is tackling the wrong issues in their businesses.

The problem you see on the surface isn’t usually the cause of the issue; it’s a symptom of it.

If there’s one tool from the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) that can instantly transform a business owner’s life, it would have to be IDS (Identify, Discuss, and Solve).

When you learn how to properly identify your issues—which aren’t just problems but also opportunities—you unlock the ability to quickly create impactful and lasting change in your company.

So how do you get to the heart of an issue? By asking one simple question…


IDS contains three steps, but the most challenging step is correctly identifying the issue.

When an issue first comes up, the tendency is to want to jump to discussion. Discussion is crucial, but if left unchecked, it can become a major time waster that yields little to no results. This is especially true if your team isn’t discussing the core issue at hand!

Resist the urge to jump straight to discussion. Instead, ask “Why?”

And keep asking “Why?” until you get to the real issue you’re trying to solve.

Here’s an example: A CEO’s company is stuck in a growth plateau.

Why is this happening? The CEO’s personal networking and business development has flatlined.

Why is this happening? The CEO is spending too much time working in the business and not on the business.

Why is this happening? Team members are constantly pulling the CEO back into client projects.

Why is this happening? Team members have difficulty keeping clients within the prescribed scope of work and need help managing client expectations.

Why is this happening? The company’s proposal process doesn’t lay out a clearly detailed scope of work.

Now the issue to discuss and solve is: How do we refine our proposal process to set clear client expectations for scope of work?

On the EOS Model, there are Six Key Components of every business:

The issue we defined is a “process” issue on the EOS Model.

Imagine that CEO going through the same exercise again. Every answer is the same—until they get to the last “Why is this happening?”

This time, the CEO’s response is: The team’s project manager doesn’t have the skills or temperament needed to set and hold boundaries with clients.

Now the issue to discuss and solve is: Do we have the right person in the project management seat? The new issue we’ve defined is a “people” issue on the EOS Model.

If you try to address a people issue with a process solution, or vice versa, the solution won’t stick. Until you identify the real issue, you can’t come up with a meaningful solve.

Of course, we all have our blind spots. Asking “Why?” and getting to the core issue is more challenging than it seems, especially when it’s your issue. Outside perspective, especially from a trained EOS Implementer, can be incredibly valuable in these moments.

If you find yourself continually solving the same problems or creating solutions that aren’t giving your business real traction, contact us to speak with one of our EOS Implementers.

It’s time to find out if you’re asking the right questions.

–Eric Crews
Founder & President
Crews Consulting Group 

Skimmed it? Here’s the recap:
–A good EOS tool to help find and solve an issue – IDS (Identify, Discuss, and Solve)
–Keep asking “Why” until you get to the real issue
–There are Six Key Components of every business: Vision, Data, Process, Traction, Issues, People