Frontloading Issues

Lean into sniffing out issues right from the beginning and addressing them first thing. Issues almost always become much bigger issues as time passes, though we hold the hope that they will remain small issues and pass on by. That hope is misguided and very oftentimes untrue.

Ways to find out issues include engaging in touchpoints of tension. Regular touchpoints don't work as well because they don't demonstrate tension, which is the heart of why issues are oftentimes not surfaced. Issues are not surfaced as part of human behavior to avoid tension, which is a very polite thing to do. Increasing touchpoints of tension allow that tension to be frontloaded, and once there is a framework of how to address tension between two parties, issues of tension are easier expressed. Bluntness is one tactic of a touchpoint of tension.

Another way to find out issues is to increase the number of touchpoints. Increasing the number of touchpoints increases trust, which allows two parties to be more open in dialogue and discussion. A corollary of increasing touchpoints is to increase response speed. Faster response speed can give the impression that there is more directness and transparency. That increases trust as well.

A third way to find out issues is to preemptively giving information as much as possible or be overly open. Giving as much information allows the other party to already know what possible issues may arise. Thus, you give the other party a possible framework on how to deal with issues, knowing already your positions up-front.

Even if you can't address the issue, at least have a trigger on how you can address the next action. Triggers include setting a deadline or goal constraint, and if X doesn't cross this goal, then Y action happens. This trigger framework ensures that there is a path of solving the issue and the agency is very much on solving the issue.