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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A Life-Long Learner by Jim Johnson

This is an excerpt from my workbook, The Path to Promotion.  (previously titled “Right On”). This section is from the “be the right person” chapter…

Think about your current job responsibilities.  Have you mastered them?  Does the quality of your work reveal this?  Too often individuals believe they should be promoted but yet they have not mastered their current responsibilities.  How shallow and blind!

You need to develop a life of learning to prepare for future opportunities.  It begins with where you are today.  If there are areas of your job that you are not completely proficient in (proficient not perfection), then make it a priority to learn what you need to learn.

Proficiency brings so many benefits to you.  You will gain confidence.  A can-do attitude is hard to ignore and is “infectious”.  Job mastery demonstrates your competence.  You can control to some degree what others think of you.  Competency is always a favorable attribute.  And proficiency provides job security.  In today’s economy, you definitely want to be thought of as indispensable as possible.

A life of learning does not only take place on the job.  Are you learning outside of your daily shift?  One of the best ways to develop a life of learning is to read.  Your local public library is full of current magazines, journals and books that can aid in your personal development.  Read about current trends that affect your company, your department, and your daily duties.  You will be preparing yourself with useful knowledge for future projects and even for future interviews.

Area colleges and universities offer courses and degrees designed with the working professional in mind.  Degrees can be earned through in-class and online offerings.

Bottom line:  always learn.  Grow.  Develop yourself.

Being the right person means that you are committed to learning more               about yourself, your job, and your company.

Curiosity – Leaders Can Encourage It!

Last evening, I read a very good article in the Sept/Oct 2018 issue of the Harvard Business Review.  The article, entitled “The Business Case for Curiosity” by Francesca Gino (Professor, Harvard), spelled out why curiosity is so important in our businesses and for our team members.

Prof. Gino defines curiosity as “the impulse to seek new information and experiences and explore novel possibilities“.  As much as I value curiosity, it was sobering to read “although leaders might say they treasure inquisitive minds, in fact most stifle curiosity fearing it will increase risk and inefficiency“.

Prof. Gino speaks of two barriers to curiosity:

  1. Leaders have the wrong mindset about exploration.  The fear here is this could lead to a “costly mess”, make the company harder to manage, and could possibly slow down operations.
  2. Leaders tend to seek efficiency to the detriment of exploration.  Prof. Gino uses Henry Ford’s drive to reduce production costs so much so that he was unable to be nimble enough to address General Motors surge in introducing a greater variety of automobiles for the public.

So how can a leader “bolster curiosity”?  Prof. Gino lists 5 ways:

  1. Hire for Curiosity
  2. The Leader should model inquisitiveness.
  3. Emphasize learning goals over or as much as performance goals.
  4. Let employees explore and broaden their interests.
  5. Have “why?” and “what if…?” and “how might we…?” days.

Harvard Business Review Sept cover

I am purposefully leaving out a lot of detail in this post. You should invest a small price to read this excellent article which can be found online here:  https://hbr.org/product/the-business-case-for-curiosity/R1805B-PDF-ENG

Or better yet, subscribe to HBR here: Harvard Business Review subscription information

Book Reading Goal for 2018

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:

  1. Leverage  (January)
  2. Mindset  (3/4/18)
  3. The CEO Next Door (3/15/18)
  4. Millionaire Success Habits (3/4/18)
  5. High Performance Habits (4/3/18)
  6. The Energy Bus (4/4/18)
  7. Everyone Communicates, Few Connect (4/17/18)
  8. Strengths Finder 2.0 (May 2018)
  9. Born to Build (Clifton) (7/1/18)

read more see moreOn 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?

 

 

The Podium is Yours…our Fear of Public Speaking by Jim Johnson

public speaking

When thinking about speaking in public (team meetings, presentations in front of customers/executives, a speech, etc.), what comes to mind?

What Americans fear

 

 

For many of us, public speaking is our #1 fear.  Why is that?  Is public speaking that much worse than snakes, drowning, or clowns?

 

 

 

 

I would love to read your comments on this topic.  Please share if you do have this fear (no matter which country you live in) and what you believe you need to work on to overcome it?

 

Connect by Jim Johnson

It’s Monday.  Our favorite day of the week…?  As you start your day, I want to encourage you not to focus on Friday.  Or on issues you may be personally facing.  Or on plans you may have in the near future.

Make today about CONNECTIONS.

Many of you will interact with customers today.  CONNECT with them.  How?  As soon as your interaction begins (i.e. in-person, phone call, chat, email), THINK.  What is it that the customer needs from you right now?  You are smart enough to figure out what the customer is needing at the moment – attention, a sense of security, resolution of an issue, courtesy, understanding, reliability…

Then CONNECT with that member.  Satisfy that need they have.  In fact, ask them at the end of the interaction, “did I answer your issue to your satisfaction?”

Really LISTEN to the customer today.  RESPOND based on their needs.  Find ways to go beyond as you SERVE the customer today.

When we CONNECT with our customers in meaningful ways, we will:

  • Deepen relationships
  • Build satisfaction
  • Create great customer experiences

connection John Maxwell