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.
I set a goal for 2018 to read at least 12 books this year. In the spirit of accountability, here is what I’ve accomplished so far:
- Leverage (January)
- Mindset (3/4/18)
- The CEO Next Door (3/15/18)
- Millionaire Success Habits (3/4/18)
- High Performance Habits (4/3/18)
- The Energy Bus (4/4/18)
- Everyone Communicates, Few Connect (4/17/18)
- Strengths Finder 2.0 (May 2018)
- Born to Build (Clifton) (7/1/18)
On deck for me are the following books:
- Third Door
- Sharpen Your Verbal Edge
- The Future Belongs to Those Who Dare
- Super Connector
- The Surprising Power of the Coil
What are you reading?
I just received in the mail the book The Dream Manager (Matthew Kelly). It was recommended to me by a new friend about a week ago. Here’s an excerpt from the very beginning of the book:
“A company’s purpose is to become the-best-version-of-itself. The next question is: What is an employee’s purpose? Most would say, ‘to help the company achieve its purpose,’ but they would be wrong. That is certainly part of an employee’s role, but an employee’s primary purpose is to become the-best-version-of-himself or herself…
The company exists for people. When a company forgets that it exists to serve its customers, it quickly goes out of business. Our employees are our first customers, and our most influential customers.
A person’s purpose is to become the-best-version-of-himself or herself.”
I’m looking forward to diving deeper into this book. Thank you, Scott Druhot, for the recommendation!
Update: I just finished this book during my lunch! Wow! I will be implementing these ideas with my leadership team soon! You need to read this book!
I’ve been working on a little project here at work. I lead 4 different, unique divisions. We are all on the same floor. There is a lot of collaboration between the teams. But I discovered something. The team still doesn’t always know what the team (overall) does.
So I addressed it.
With the help of my leadership team, I created a document (12 pages long) that highlights each of my divisions, the work they do, and the up-to-date results they are getting. In each of their sections, I also shared the company awards they’ve received over the past couple of years (it’s always good to be reminded of this!). Each team member was listed and all of their photos were included.
Teams can do the work day in and day out. We all are busy. My team is full of flawed, human beings – myself included! We are not perfect. But we do a lot to move our company forward. We work hard to serve our customers (members) to our best ability. We care about each other inside and outside of work.
I created this document to be sure my team understands all that goes on. I want them to appreciate their own efforts and results. I want them to appreciate the efforts of those working on the other side of the room. Together, we are making a positive impact.
I challenge you to do something similar with your team. This exercise helped me focus on the positive strengths this team has. I think it will help my team focus on that, too.
In his new book, High Performance Habits, Brendon Burchard speaks about seeking clarity in Habit 1. I shared this exercise with my Emerging Leader group yesterday. I thought you might like to read this as well:
- Describe (write it down) how you’ve perceived yourself in the following situations over the past several months – with your significant other, at work, with the kids or your team, in social situations with strangers.
- Now ask, “Is that who I really see myself being in the future?” How would my future self look, feel, and behave differently in those situations? (note: think about how your future self would want to interact in ways that you would be proud of)
- If you could describe yourself in just 3 aspirational words – words that would sum up who you are at your best in the future – what would those words be? Why are those words meaningful to you? Once you find your words, put them in your phone as an alarm label that goes off several times per day.
I worked through this exercise myself. I jotted down several things and finally landed on my 3 aspirational words. I created a calendar event that displays these 3 words at 5:45 am, 1:00 pm and 9:00 pm every day.
Already, there are many times when I see those words and I am reminded to be my best and do my best to act out on these words. It works. What a great reminder.
Try it. In fact, order the book and start working your own high performance habits (link to the book is provided above). Begin working on becoming better. You will not regret it.
I shared some of these thoughts with someone just a moment again via email. I thought I would share this with you.
Are you the CEO, VP, Director, Manager, etc. on your team? If so, your team needs something from you. If you are in a team meeting, departmental meeting or all-company affair, don’t discount your impact in those moments.
I’m sure you know this is a plumb bob. It is used to insure accuracy in construction. A carpenter’s eye can deceive him. But a plumb bob cannot be “off”. The weight and gravity work in accordance with laws of physics. The plumb bob always shows what is in line/accurate.
Your team does not intend to ever “get off” the line (expectations) in their daily work. But it happens. Life events push in on them. Relationships in the office can become strained. We all can have bad days. Sometimes, a customer can be a jerk.
Our teams get off-kilter.
When you have your time in front of your team, it is a perfect time to help them re-calibrate. To hear and see the vision again. This is their plumb bob. And you get to hold the string.
You believe in your company’s vision/mission. Like it or not, your team looks to you at these key events to hold the string, remind them of their “calling”, spray a little Windex on the vision, and point all of your team’s ships in the same direction.
Be great at this.
That’s what your team needs from you. To be your best self. Your team all loves that, wants that, and needs that.