When I was growing up, most of our lessons and education were supported by simple stories, reasoning, or examples from our parents and community. Looking back, I’m impressed by how effectively this story-telling approach worked and eliminated issues – or at least made whatever the situation was more tolerable.
I think there is a lesson in this for us.
One of the biggest challenges today is that we have a tremendous amount of resources (broader education, internet, experts, etc.) available to leverage and help us with issues. However, with this abundance of options, we sometimes forget about that old method of solving things. We don’t always drill down to look at what the goal of the solution is. Understanding the goal is the first step to identifying a solution.
I had an example some years back where I couldn’t get a document to print. I got in touch with one of my hotshot developers to assist me. He came to my office and decided to reload printer drivers and change some other things, but the problem still existed. I told my Client Services Director (former services technician & manger) my issue, and he suggested rebooting the printer.
After rebooting the printer, the issue went away. The first person looked at the issue from a much more broad perspective. The second person just tried an old trick. There are often simple answers – especially when we have specific goals (like maybe printing a document).
I believe, as leaders, we have two requirements when it comes to problems. The first is clearly defining the goal to be achieved around the problem you’re trying to address. The second is to look for simplicity in your resolution approach first, before expanding the effort. Subtracting all unnecessary steps in good decision making provides a tremendous benefit in time, cost, and value to be received by everyone.
As many of you know, I like to read and follow a couple of conservative economists. One of them is Dr. Walter Williams. I enjoyed his recent article on the Jewish World Review Website. The lesson he uses from his mom is an excellent reminder that looking for a solution that serves everyone’s purpose doesn’t have to be hard or complex.