The problems we have with each other are more dangerous than the problems we have with competitors.

People-problems get worse when they’re ignored.

Organizational turmoil diminishes, when nagging people problems find resolution.

Everything that’s controllable has a person connected to it.

This post offers a tested approach to successfully working on nagging people-problems.

Click here to receive our weekly summaries

Positive before negative.

Describe what you want, before attacking what you don’t.

Everyone knows what they don’t want. The deeper issue is what you want.

First question:

When people ask me for advice, the first thing I ask is, “What would be happening if things were going great?”

The answers I receive are usually about results. The trouble is, problems are about behaviors. When behaviors are right, results follow.

Second question:

The second question I ask is, “What behaviors would you see, if things were going great?” Imagine yourself walking down the hall and seeing behaviors that let you know things are going great.

Positive fill in:

Fill in the blank. With this problem in mind, if things were going great, I would see ….

If you can’t see it, don’t talk about it.

Describe solutions in behavioral terms. If people can’t do it, it isn’t a solution.

Negative after positive:

After describing what you want, explore what needs to stop.

Generalities are for cowards. Describe harmful behaviors, specifically.


When solving nagging people problems, focus on behaviors that violateagreed upon values.

It’s a whole different conversation when you can’t agree on what’s harmful.


  1. Attitudes.
  2. Feelings.
  3. Long-term goals.
  4. Explaining why it’s happening.

Focus on behaviors.


Solving people-problems requires focus, urgency, and, most importantly, simplicity.

Click here to receive our weekly summaries