need help, go to someone who knows nothing

October 5, 2008 at 9:37 pm | Posted in Business, Professional Development | Leave a comment
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OK, so maybe not someone who knows absolutely nothing, but it may be a good time to connect with someone who has a fresh perspective on your problem. I was thinking about getting the best in the company, from multiple disciplines, into a room every so often to just think about problems. I think it would accomplish at least two things:

1) Makes you understand your problem well enough to explain it to someone who doesn’t know your particular field. That is always helpful.

2) They’re not jaded by any presuppositions in thinking about an answer.

Yeah, I’m sure some of the discussions will be eye-rolling fodder, but I think it would be a very interesting way to go about solving some tough market challenges. Oh, if we all only had 30 hours in a day, doing stuff like this would be no problem!

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found a problem? fix it.

July 30, 2008 at 12:07 pm | Posted in Professional Development | 2 Comments
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Was listening to an interview with Michael Dell the other day (can’t find the link now) where he was asked about the best advice he had ever received since starting his business in high school.  He said that it was from a college professor who told him, “When you find a problem, fix it right away.”

Sounds pretty simple.  Almost too simple.  But I know from personal experience how difficult it can be.  Recently I’ve had a couple of situations in my personal and professional life that caused me to wonder how things might have been differently had I acted to fix the problems I found immediately.  Of course, there’s no way to know for sure, but all things considered, I think I will win more than I lose by following the advice.

It’s not always easy though, because sometimes fixing problems have ramifications.  Sometimes serious ones.  Fixing a broken door handle and fixing a situation where, say, you know that a friend is being dishonest at work, come with very different sets of baggage.  That’s what makes the choices hard.

In coaching, I fell prey to delayed action many times.  Maybe I liked a kid and didn’t want to yank him from a starting role.  Maybe I didn’t want to hear the gripes of a parent.  Maybe I didn’t want to fight the red tape of the school administration.  There were plenty of things that delayed what I knew deep down to be right.  I’ve recently had to remind myself that they rarely, if ever, end well — in coaching, business, or life.  Take ’em on as early as possible.

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