Whatever your business, problems are a given; they take a myriad forms but they are ever-present. We have all tasted the frustration of tackling these constant challenges; an exercise that can easily lead to a jaundiced attitude throughout the working day.
The scenario goes something like this: I encounter a problem (a project goes off-schedule, a supplier lets me down, an employee has an infectious bad attitude, a customer is dissatisfied, you can easily fill in the blank). I resent the problem because it interrupts my plans, or the flow of my work. I turn to tackle the distraction, and before long I find myself interrupted by a different problem. If I am not vigilant, my work day is soon characterized by a negative outlook that is just waiting for the next unwelcome intrusion.
Having experienced this cycle, we all recognize how draining it can be! If unchecked, this can suck the life out of your enterprise, leaving an empty, grudging shell where vision and possibility used to thrive.
Clearly this is a danger we must address, but not by avoiding or ignoring problems. Instead, we can approach problems from a different perspective.
I want to suggest that every problem has a possibility within it: the wayward project is an opportunity for teamwork to shine; a disgruntled employee can be challenged and coached, a dissatisfied customer can become an advocate for improvement, an unreliable supplier is a diagnostic for purchasing processes (and you can fill in the blank again).
I can turn almost any problem into an opportunity if I can find the possibility within it. In this way, even problems can become life-giving to your business!
Suggestions to maximize the turnaround:
Multiply the inputs: when a problem crops up, share it with others to gain different perspectives on the opportunities within.
One size fits one: no two people are alike, neither are two problems. Do all you can to define and respond uniquely to each issue, and to discover unique opportunities in each.
Personalize, then professionalize: start with the personal aspects of each problem (why is this customer unhappy? How does this employee’s personality influence his or her attitude?) then formulate your response as professionally as possible (avoiding personal bias or reaction).
Looking for the possibilities in your problems can be rewarding and profitable!