Potholes in the road are common. The thing about potholes is that they grow in insidious fashion - ever wider, longer, and deeper. Potholes begin as superficial blemishes on the surface of the roadway, yet they quickly "metastasize," spreading into the very foundation of the roadbed.
Organizations can develop potholes, too. Little things that seem like inconsequential annoyances - glitches in supply chains, paperwork bottlenecks, customer service fails, unhealthy symptoms in the culture - turn into full-blown barriers to organizational progress and improvement. In effect, a superficial blemish turns into an open wound.
What to do about potholes? On the roadway, maintenance crews must be diligent in quickly identifying the early signs of potholes and addressing issues before they begin to do deeper damage to the roadway, and to the vehicles that travel thereon.
In organizations, the same kind of constant attention is required. In the healthiest organizations, every team member is both charged and empowered to address emerging "potholes." Noticing the earliest signs of "potholes" and addressing them quickly is the surest way to prevent significant dysfunction and frustration for those within the organization, and for those the organization serves.
One way or the other, potholes are going to get our attention, our time, and our resources. The sooner the better.