Archive for the ‘problem solving’ Category

Think of every idea or suggestion you receive for your business as a person handing you cash.

Every suggestion that you receive has some worth. Maybe your spouse suggested you wear a different tie or necklace for a meeting instead of the one you chose, and it was a better suggestion. That’s a quick $1.

The barista at the coffee shop suggested you take a different route to get to a meeting downtown because you said you were worried about the traffic. Take it as $5 in your pocket if it saves you time, $20 if your competition ends up shows late. Think of it as a loss of money if the new route actually makes you late.

And everyday that million dollar idea for your company is just waiting to be born from a spark of creativity from any one of your employees, co-workers or partners. In the meantime, you’ll settle for a $100 idea here, and a $50 idea there, especially if you are a small business.

So if ideas and suggestions amount to ‘free money’ being handed to you, would there ever be a case where you would turn it down? If the person giving you the idea had some strings attached that made the money not only ‘not free,’ but put you in a situation where you were uncomfortable or at a serious disadvantage, you’d would politely take the idea ‘in consideration’ and do your best to distance yourself from the person and their idea.

Now that you’ve gotten a good grasp of ideas as dollars, take a day to observe how much free cash you are tossing in the dumpster instead of using to make into actual capital. Also keep an eye on how much political capital you are floundering throughout the workplace in the process.

When that quiet guy from IT came to you with an idea early in a process for you to consider. When a new secretary pointed out an issue she has with her new job that was fixed at an old job with a simple and easy solution. When that intern asked, ‘Why would anybody want to buy that,’ and was honestly confused by what seemed like batches of outdated processes. These are example of investors in your company, people with money already in the game, who want nothing more than to see even more success from you, scrapping together real money to put into your product, not shrugging off some pocket change and hoping for the best.

If an investor came to you with $1,000 with no strings attached, other than to use the money for something benefiting the company, could you use it for something? Would you find a way to accept it?

It might not be that million dollar idea being offered up to you, but every suggestions is worth something. Remember that, and make sure you are getting your money’s worth from each and every idea that comes your way.

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY ME IN THE FORMER COOL CORPORATE DOT COM BLOG

Does your career follow a warped version of the story of the Little Dutch Boy?

The Cliff Notes Version of the Little Dutch Boy has a hole in a dike that was threatening to burst, and little boy walks up an sticks his finger in the hole and shores up the dike with the simple act…a decision that is a little tough because it makes him late for school, which will get him in trouble. Eventually, some passerby sees the boy, and brings back help to fix the dike. The story is told to teach quick action and self-sacrifice, because if the boy leaves, the dike is back in the same peril that it was in before, and he has no guarantee that help is on the way.

Switch the story to an analogy of your career. Were you on your way to something bigger and brighter, came across a problem that you could offer up a quick fix, and then got stuck supporting your quick fix forever? In real world work, sometimes the people whose job it is to actually fix things will do everything in their power to go nowhere near the problem, sticking you with your quick fix approaches, and bogging you down with unresolved issues that keep you from accomplishing bigger goals and moving forward.

I believe you have three ways to approach this problem:

1: JUST DON’T STICK YOUR FINGER IN THE DIKE: If it’s not your problem, its not your problem, and don’t lift a finger (pun intended) to fix it.

2: PUT YOUR FINGER IN THE DIKE FOR A WHILE, THEN TAKE IT OUT AND DEMAND ACTION: Save the company for just a little while, figure out what the real problem is, then kill your quick fix and get in the faces of those who have the responsibility to fix it, and make sure they fix it.

3: PUT YOUR FINGER IN THE DIKE, AND PRAY THAT THE RIGHT PEOPLE WILL DO THE RIGHT THING ON THERE OWN: …which probably won’t happen…but a little faith might help…

When I came across the idea for this post, I knew I was going to be short on answers, but I hope that just putting the thought out there will help those stuck ‘with their finger in the dike’ to get a better picture of their current situation, and find a way out of it.


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