William Liao

November 5, 2021

Is this really a problem?

The belief that there is a problem tends is usually followed by a resource-intensive effort to either solve or mitigate the problem. 

A project that feels like it’s on the cusp of failing might trigger several mitigating behaviors from the team, including reaching out to the project sponsor and revising project plans. 

A negotiation that feels like it’s on the verge of falling apart might trigger several internal meetings to discuss adjusting terms. 

None of this behavior is an issue as long as the problem is a real problem — the kind that bears negative implications on the things that matter to you and your team. 

Misdiagnoses happen all the time:

Sometimes teams conclude that their work is on the cusp of failing but can’t recall the line of reasoning that led them to make that conclusion. 

Maybe the negotiation you’re in is on the verge of falling apart, but in the grand scheme it’s not mission-critical enough to warrant additional time investment from your team. 

Before you embark on a mission to solve a problem, it’s worth asking yourself the following one or two more times over: is this really a problem? Is this really worth the additional effort? 

If yes: go. 

If not: you just saved your team from a bunch of productivity loss.