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.

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First Fridays – focus on NE Indiana Regional Partnership

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On Friday, November 3, John Sampson (CEO of the NE Indiana Regional Partnership) will be the inaugural speaker at First Fridays hosted by Indiana Wesleyan University. In case you are not familiar with the Partnership, read the following excerpt and visit them at http://neindiana.com.

About the NE Indiana Regional Partnership

Increasing business investment. That’s what we’re all about. We’re here to support your business, build our community, and market our region to the world. How do we do all of that? Together. Collaboration is Northeast Indiana’s secret sauce and the key to building a globally competitive economy in our 11-county region.

Our mission is to build, market, and sell Northeast Indiana to increase business investment.

Our region is made up of Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells, and Whitley counties.

Click on the link below to RSVP (required for attendance – seating is limited). Plan to be there.

First Fridays November 3

Leadership Beyond Our Walls – Aunt Millie’s Bakehouse by Jim Johnson

Yesterday, my leadership team and I had lunch with Tim & Todd Baumann of Aunt Millie’s Bakehouse.  Tim serves as the EVP of Sales and Todd is the Director of Continuous Improvement / Strategic Growth.  I met Tim while standing in a 2 hour line during early voting. We talked about bread, Cubs baseball, and leadership.I later emailed him asking him to meet my leadership team.

I have taken my leaders outside of our office to meet, interact with, and learn from local entrepreneurs and business leaders.  Aunt Millie’s has been in business in our city since 1901 and they do business all over the U.S. as overseas (Saudi Arabia, Dubai, etc.). The family who has been leading this company does so with passion, integrity, and great effectiveness.

We had an outstanding time with great conversations and shared insight.  My leadership team asks wonderful questions and are very curious and eager to learn and grow.

Here are some of our take-a-ways:

  • Creating a culture that lasts for generations takes commitment, consistency, and courage.
  • I want to help create a culture that becomes a legacy at 3Rivers – where people love being here while serving our communities.
  • Leadership matters– whether a company bakes bread or makes loans. 
  • It is worth getting better.  Always.
  • Serving others is a leader’s highest calling. 
  • “Be intentional”. None of us have all of the right answers however if your head and your heart is in the right place than great things are bound to happen.
  • Build trust.

In our community, we have a rich history of successful leaders, entrepreneurs , and community investors.  This exercise is proving to add value to my team, those we meet, and to me personally.  My team becomes ignited through these experiences.  We grow in our leadership journey as we work to always “lift our lids”.

Response Ability

On my way into work this morning, I was listening to John Lee Dumas’ podcast, “Entrepreneur on Fire”.  In the episode I listened to (#1482 from November 11, 2016), John was interviewing Rob Moore, author of Disruptive Entrepreneur.  I would highly recommend taking time to listen to EOFire.  Whether you are striving to become an entrepreneur or not, you will learn valuable insights into yourself, your work, and your world.

During an interaction, Rob pointed out that John had emphasized the word “responsibility” as “response ability”.  They had a great exchange following that.  For obvious reasons.

This past Friday, my company held its 3rd annual all-employee education day.  It was a great time to learn, collaborate, and stretch.  But now it’s Monday morning.  What are we all doing with all that information we were exposed to?

Studies show that probably only 5% of us will actually act on new insights we’ve been exposed to. That’s it!  Only 5%!

But dove-tailing off of EOFire this morning, you have the “response ability” to do more with what you learn.

  • You read an article that directly applies to your line of work.  Take time to share it with someone on your team.  Find out if your work should change based upon new ideas you discovered.
  • You read a book about personal growth.  Create an action plan to put what you’ve learned into practice.  Today.
  • You attended a seminar that got you all pumped up.  Journal about what you learned, how you felt, and what you intend to do about this new insight.

In other words, when you learn something new, TAKE ACTION!  That’s your response ability.  As Jeff Olson in The Slight Edge says, take daily, disciplined action toward your goals and you will succeed.

Are you taking responsibility?  Make a plan.  Do the plan.  Don’t let great insight and experience go to waste.

make things happen