The Reactive Approach

The reactive approach to diagnosis will become probably the most well-worn tool in your leadership toolkit. It is the way we handle the majority of our leadership duties. Because of this, it is important to get right. The following exercise reveals the things that are important to the approach.


Select an area of the group’s performance where you see regular problems. Consider the relationships — the interactions over time — that produce this challenge as you answer the following questions.


  • What do you expect the members to do? What does excellence look like in this task?

  • Do the members who are involved understand this excellence? Do they have a model for what the output looks like?

  • Are the members provided with all of the interchange elements that they need to complete the work? Are interchange elements lacking, imperfect, or untimely?

  • What emotion reactions occur within each member that might prevent the individual from being able to focus and commit to the work? What previous interactions caused these emotion reactions?

  • What effect does this challenge have upon individual tasks, and upon the collective work product? How does this challenge limit excellence in later tasks?


If you lack answers to these questions, you may need to discuss them with the members involved. We cannot see every interaction, so these discussions often reveal interchange failures or emotion reactions that we did not observe.