Aspirin for Asthma

The path to success is paved with systems. The alternative is band-aids and aspirins.

Aspirin is great for minor headaches but doesn’t help asthma. In a few people, aspirin makes asthma worse.

Aspirin won’t help asthma no matter how sincere you feel.

7 “painful” insights:

  1. A little pain is part of organizational life. 
  2. The advantage of pain is motivation to seek solutions.
  3. Poorly solved problems return and get worse.
  4. Yesterday’s good solution may make matters worse today.
  5. An aspirin is fine for minor irritations but recurring pain requires systematic solutions.

Warning: You may have a problem even if it doesn’t hurt right now.

Approaching chronic pain:

  1. Create blame-free environments. Take responsibility. Don’t point fingers.
  2. Think long-term rather than quick fix.
  3. Look for root causes, not symptoms.

Tip: Look for simple causes and solutions first. Sitting on a thick wallet in your back pocket can twist your back and cause back pain, for example.

Systems: You love systems because they…

  1. Eliminate drama.
  2. Prevent distractions.
  3. Instill confidence.
  4. Expedite efficiencies.
  5. Establish measures.

Potential systems:

  1. Leadership development systems. A bi-monthly one-on-one, for example.
  2. Communication systems.
  3. Accountability systems.
  4. Transparency systems.
  5. Problem solving systems.

Systems could be checklists or standard operating procedures (SOP’s).

Systems are:

  1. Repeated behaviors.
  2. Pre-determined patterns for specific situations. You know what to do before it happens.
  3. Confidence builders.
  4. Clarity creators.


The danger of systems is complexity.

Systems can be as simple as asking the same questions at the beginning of team meetings.

  1. What are this week’s greatest opportunities?
  2. How will we capitalize on our greatest opportunities?
  3. Who’s the champion of this opportunity?
  4. How do we know we’re winning?

What organizational pain-points might be opportunities for system-solutions?