Let’s cut right to the chase – the biggest problem all leaders face is problem solving itself. The job of every leader is to avoid, minimize or altogether eliminate problems. When the inevitable problems do arise, it’s a leader’s job to turn said problems into opportunity. The issue is this; most leaders are woefully inept when it comes to problem solving.
Pick any leadership challenge and it boils down to a problem solving issue – nothing more, nothing less. Issues surrounding talent, finance, public policy, operations, strategy, social purpose, execution, competition, litigation, etc., are simply problems to be solved.
What I’ve expressed thus far seems like little more than common sense, but the issue is a very real one. Surely leaders are good problem solvers right? In many cases the answer is sadly no. The problem of problem solving has become a lost art.
Creating the right environment and framework for developing outstanding solutions is very rigorous, demanding work that many leaders don’t have the time, resources, or patience for. They demand a solution and end-up settling for any solution. They take the path of the cheap, easy solution instead of refusing to accept anything other than the right solution.
The fact is far too many leaders don’t even recognize they have a problem until the media asks them to comment on it, leadership teams are fractured, corporate cultures become toxic, revenue hurdles are missed, market share is lost, valued employees seek employment elsewhere, a strategy is proven to be flawed, a product becomes obsolete, or brand falls into decline.