Step One: Defining the Problems and Examining Root Cause

Does the Team have multiple issues or concerns to tackle regarding serving transition youth? The first step in the process is for the Team to reach a shared understanding and a clear definition of each problem to be solved.

If I had 60 minutes to solve a problem, I'd spend 55 minutes defining it, and 5 minutes solving it.
Albert Einstien

A common pitfall in developing plans for Systems Change is for Teams to put in place strategies that focus on the symptoms rather than the root causes of issues and problems. It is often easier to recognize and relate to symptoms. It requires a Team-based discussion, and consideration of the multiple perspectives of each Team member, to peel back the symptoms and look inside to ferret out the root cause of issues and problems.

As human services professionals, the natural inclination is a desire to quickly resolve the issues and problems confronted that negatively impact transition professionals, youth and families. When those issues are really symptoms, rather than root causes, it ends up in a constant cycle of confronting the same issues over and over again – that feeling of always ‘putting out fires. First probing for root cause pays off by making sure the Team is investing time and resources into solving the ‘right’ problem.