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A Problem Worth Solving

Photo Credit - pixabay.com

Photo Credit - pixabay.com

Problems don’t ever seem to creep up on me. Instead, they lurch out of the darkness and create a detour in my already jam packed day. As a business owner, I have worked hard, trying to reduce the number of problems that arise, and I have worked even more diligently at trying not to let a problem that surfaces wreck my day. Regardless of how much effort, time and energy I exert to preempt problems, the little gremlins seem to find their way into my schedule.

I may not go about solving problems in a straight line, but eventually, I will get there.

Since problems are a fact of life, I have spent a considerable amount of time in problem solving mode. I would not consider my problem solving skill level on the scale of Sherlock Holmes or even Detective Columbo. More likely, I would compare myself to Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau from the Pink Panther movies. I may not go about solving problems in a straight line, but eventually, I will get there.

Here are 5 tactics I put into use when trying to solve problems:

Be passionate about the solution, not the problem. When a problem is presented to me, my initial instinct is to go into defense mode. I can feel the pulse in my neck begin to throb as my emotions kick in. Instead of denying the feeling, channel the energy into a passion to find a solution. As difficult as it may be to believe, the problem presented is not about you, it is more likely about your product, service or a situation that occurred in need of your attention. If you focus on the solution and not the problem you will see things in a whole different light.

Put the rules aside. When a problem is presented to you, and you start to work on the solutions, write down as many solutions as possible. Initially, do not focus on the rules, policies, procedures and guidelines. What you are actually doing by working this method is training your brain to be solution based. Once you have exhausted your “solutions list,” go back and strike out the bigger rule breakers. There is a possibility the rule bender solutions may fit the problem perfectly and that your company may be willing to make an exception to the rules for this specific situation. One step further, there is a chance that a problem presented is worthy of a rule change, making you a Class A problem solver and influencer. Nice job.

I would highly recommend you put the problem into perspective and evaluate it through the eyes of the source.

What does your gut tell you? When presented with a problem, it is usually presented with a “gut check” as well. Instinctively, you may have that sixth sense that evaluates the situation and presents its findings in a split second. If your gut instinct is usually correct, I would encourage you to present that as one of your initial solutions. If you are experienced in your profession, your gut is best guide for problem solving.

Keep everything in perspective. I would highly recommend you put the problem into perspective and evaluate it through the eyes of the source. Your customer wants to hear solutions that are based upon their needs, not the policies of your company. You will need to present solutions that show empathy, compassion and an understanding of the problem based upon the needs of your customer. You will find that solutions come much faster if you focus on the needs of others instead of your needs first.

Problems are bound to happen, it’s what comes next that is important.

Don’t go it alone. Bigger problems may require the efforts of more than just you. No need to be a solo superhero, let others help generate a solution with you. Batman had Robin and Speed Racer had Chim Chim, you too may need help. You will be amazed at how supportive others are when you ask their advice. Although your goal is never to pass the buck, the ability to enlist others should be within your problem solving tactics. Teamwork provides a great opportunity to resolve the most complex problems.

While problems are never fun to deal with, problem solving provides an great opportunity for you to grow, think fast on your feet and work magic into your day. Problems are bound to happen, it’s what comes next that is important.

What other techniques do you use to resolve problems during your day? Please share them in the comments section below. Also, take a moment and share my Nice Guys Finish First message on your favorite social media channel. LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook have been very successful at amplifying my message. Also, check out my writing on Huffington Post as well.

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There's a strategic plan for SUCCESS: less thinking, more doing

Photo by Konstantin Grishin/Hemera / Getty Images
Photo by Konstantin Grishin/Hemera / Getty Images

I’d rather finish in “last place” instead of “did not finish.” Most certainly, for me, last place is a world apart, and much better, than “did not start.” Growing up, what I lacked in talent, I made up for in tenacity. Many amazing mentors in my life, including my dad, taught me the importance of hard work and dedication to your trade, even when the naysayers were seemingly right behind me, yelling “You can’t do it.” In actuality however, I cannot recall ever turning around and seeing anybody. Most of the voices were my own self doubts and had nothing to do with my actual capabilities. I soon realized that most of the people I had suspected were downers in my life (the universal ‘they’) were not actually thinking about me at all. They had their own life to live, their own problems, joys and issues to deal with, and had no time to spend worrying, thinking or dealing with anything I had going on in my life. They were living their life and I was living mine. We all spend far too much time worrying about what other people are thinking about us. You need to know this, no offense but, they are not thinking about you at all.

We all spend far too much time worrying about what other people are thinking about us.

Early in my career I worked hard at getting rid of that negative voice that said “NO, you can’t” and turned it into “YES, you can.” I developed a consistent pattern for turning a voice that cried “No!” into one that exclaimed “Yes!” Now, it has evolved into a “YES, you must!” In the beginning, it was challenging because self doubt rarely creeps into your life. It’s more like it lunges at you. New projects that you take on at work, new business plans you develop and wonderful, creative, outside the box thinking becomes more complicated than needed when worry and self doubt settle in. On a personal level, relationships break down when you don’t feel good enough or a voice in the back of your head says you do not deserve this relationship.

How you feel about yourself is directly related to how well you do in business.

Believe it or not, this is all related to, and tied into, how you handle your customers because it all relates to how you build relationships. How you feel about yourself is directly related to how well you do in business. People in a position of self doubt tend to be people that are “thinkabouters.” Decisions come hard, with much delay and a side order of worry. Lots of energy is focused on the “what ifs.” Too much time is spent getting ready and little time is spent actually doing. If the thinkabouter would spend even a portion of their energy on doing something as opposed to thinking about doing something, they could get off square one and start moving forward. When you remain immobile and put off making decisions, relationships suffer. Business is weakened when you have trouble making decisions. Self doubt becomes indecisiveness, which will lead to over analysis and potentially bad decision making practices. Customers begin to doubt your capabilities if you cannot assist them in making decisions. Eventually it will lead to lost business, more self doubt, more worry and so on. It’s a horrible cycle and one you must avoid.

I used to be a ‘thinkabouter.’ Now I’m a ‘getitdoner.’

So here’s the great news, people with a get-it-done mentality, also know as “getitdoners,” have so much positive energy their figurative cups spill over with action and decisiveness. And while every action they take is not a winner, they are constantly moving forward. I can assure you customers like action and they like it now. Plus, the wonderful part about positive energy is that is contagious. Others around you, including your customers, will sense your positive vibe and will embrace your approach to getting things done. Once you begin to get good at making decisions, at getting things done and taking action, you will begin to get very good at whatever task you take on. The adage -- practice makes perfect -- applies here. You will become a great decision maker, not afraid to take action, not afraid of failure and quite comfortable in your own skin. This get-it-done approach will create amazingly positive results, including better personal relationships and more valuable business relationships because people will have more confidence in you. Confidence leads to more action, leading you to make better decisions. And I’d much rather be swept up by this cycle of positive energy than the alternative.

Self doubt rarely creeps into your life. It’s more like it lunges at you.

The choice is yours of course, but honestly, if you come around my way, I’d prefer to be working with a getitdoner, and mess a bunch of stuff up, than a thinkabouter that can’t get started. We might not come in first place every time and we may even come in last place a few times, but we are going to get a ton of stuff accomplished, that’s for sure. And we are going to have fun in the process.

Please take a moment and share my blog on your favorite social media channel. Twitter tweets, Facebook likes and LinkedIn shares amplify my message considerably. Thanks for being so very NICE! Be on the lookout for news about my book "Nice Guys Finish First," soon to be released.