Recruit a Problem that needs Solving by Jim Johnson

problem solver

This morning, I read an excerpt from T.D. Jakes’ book, Soar!   It was a simple yet profound statement that got me thinking:

“Recruit a problem that needs solving”

He was primarily referring to someone who was interested in becoming an entrepreneur.  But I believe this statement applies in a few other ways.  See if you agree with me.

First of all, I do agree with Bishop Jakes.  If an entrepreneur is going to become successful, their intended business must solve a problem that exists for consumers.  If not, what’s the point?  I met a local entrepreneur who is working on a brace to help speed the recovery of a common sports injury (ACL).  If he can successfully create this brace, his future will become very exciting.  Pro athletes, college athletes, and even high school athletes will benefit from this.  He recognized a problem (slow/ineffective healing), and he is applying his engineering background to solve this in a new way.

But what if you are merely wanting to move up the corporate ladder at work?  Would solving a problem help with that?  YES!  Your path to promotion can be paved with your reputation as a problem solver.  Where can you find problems to solve at work?  Listen!  Look!  They are every where.  Spend time with others outside of your department and find out what issues drive them crazy.  Then work through a process to collaborate with them to solve the problem.  By doing this, you will make an impact, create influence, and be seen as a trusted resource.

Wait.  There’s a process to this?  Why, yes there is.  Let me share what I teach to my call center team when they encounter a service recovery call.  We lovingly call it the “Laffy Taffy” approach:

L = Listen.  Listen to the problem/issue.  Really strive to understand exactly what is being shared.

A = Ask questions.  Don’t start advising!  Ask clarifying questions to hone in on the true issue at hand.  Ask open-ended questions.

F = Feel.  Feel what the other person is feeling.  This will help you understand the true nature of the issue/problem.

THEN, and only then…

T = Think.  Think about the resources needed to help solve the issue.  Think about possible solutions.  Who else could be brought in to help?

A = Act.  After you’ve done all of this, now ACT.  Don’t just pat your co-worker on the back and say, “good luck with that.  It sucks to be you!”  NO!  Act!  Take action to solve the problem based on all that you’ve learned.

F = Follow-up.  Most of us fail here.  We do not follow up.  If you are given the opportunity to help solve a problem, follow-up to see how things are going once the issue is resolved.  Did the solution produce the desired results?  How is the person feeling now?  What have you all learned from this?  Follow-up!

You can also recruit a problem that needs solving in your efforts to help make your community better.  You can also take an honest look at your personal habits and discover issues that are getting your way of success.  You always want to become better as a leader.  Look for problems to recruit and then solve them for your own betterment.

Problems are all around us.  Recruit one!  Help others become better.  Become a problem solver.  Deploy the process of LAF TAF. Become that trusted resource.

It works when you work it.

Do You Spend or Invest? And I’m not just talking about money…

craig groeschel podcastI listen to Craig Groeschel’s leadership podcast.  I decided to take a longer way to work this morning and drove through the countryside.  I chose a podcast where Greg challenged his listeners to invest instead of spend (Investing Your Resources the Right Way, Part 1).

Was he referring to money?  Not so much on this podcast.  He was asking his listeners:

  • Do you spend your time or do you invest your time?
  • Do you spend time with your team or do you invest in them?
  • Do you merely spend your resources or do you invest and leverage them?

This is all about resource allocation, Craig explained.

“Resource allocation is investing your available resources in the present to
accomplish your goals and objectives in the future.”

Spending is a one-and-done proposition, isn’t it?

“When you spend something, you’re using it up or paying it out. You’re making an even trade. But when you’re investing, you don’t expect an equal return—you expect an exponentially larger one.”

For example, you go out to eat.  You are spending money on a meal that may or may not bring future benefit.  You are making a trade – your spent money for a good meal.

But, you could go out to eat with your teenage daughter to invest time with her in creating a better connection with her.  Same restaurant.  Same food.  Same ambiance. Same cost of the meal.  But far different outcomes.  Spending vs Investing.

So think of your team at work right now.

  • Who do you need to invest time in this week?
  • How will you invest your time in meetings, projects, and people.
  • Where is the best place to allocate your financial resources in next year’s budget proposal you are working on?

The same holds true for your own personal development as a leader.  Are you spending your time each day or are you investing in yourself in becoming better?

  • Spending time in front of the TV night after night vs Investing in a good book that will sharpen your leadership skills.
  • Spending money hitting the drive-through on your way to work vs Investing in learning how to make healthier food choices and eating a wholesome breakfast at home.
  • Spending time during a break at work watching funny videos on social media vs Investing in your mental and physical well-being by going outside and taking a 15 minute walk.

Craig summarized his thoughts this way…

To get the highest return on your investment, you’ll need to be different than most leaders in a few key ways:

• Most leaders decide how to spend money. You’ll need to agonize about how to invest it.
• Most leaders want to use people to get the desired results. You’ll need to invest in helping leaders get better so that ultimately, the whole organization can get better.
• Most leaders spend their time doing tasks. You’ll need to intentionally invest your time achieving desired results.