“There are no problems; just solutions” is one of the most powerful phrases to guide us through the challenges we face today in business and life. For me, it is a mantra I live by.
It was ingrained in me by my dad, over and over again, in every type of difficult situation. The belief that I can solve every problem gave me the confidence to overcome the challenges in both my business and personal life.
I have found that people possess two different mindsets. Individuals who see the glass half full and people who see the glass half empty. Yes, we are all born with personality traits that lead us to exude positivity or surround ourselves with negativity. However, it is not predestined we will handle problems in a particular way based only on our genetics.
Each of us has unique experiences that have shaped our values and beliefs. My own personal experiences have convinced me that everyone can control their own destiny.
One of the tools I have used is the ability to train our minds. It can unleash our capacity to look at every problem as an opportunity. Like most of us, I tend to worry about things that appear to be problems that, in fact, are not.
The dictionary defines a problem as “a matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needed to be dealt with and overcome.” So, it is imperative that we do not confuse worries with problems.
When you needlessly worry, the effects can be harmful, as best shown through a quote by the famous French Philosopher Michel De Montaigne over five hundred years ago. “My life has been filled with terrible misfortune, most of which it never happened.”
When it comes to people and worries, times have not changed. It is an eye-opening statistic that eighty -five percent of what we worry about never happens.
With time and experience, I have learned to focus my energy on solving real business problems. In my professional career, I have been faced with an accident that nearly bankrupted our company, shareholder litigation that almost forced the sale of Paraco Gas, challenges with the purchase and transitioning of fifty-three acquisitions, a crisis resulting from a terrible management decision, and serious problems that resulted from difficult business environments.
Why do I still believe there is a solution to every problem?
It is because after each and every one of those potentially life-altering problems, not only did we find the solution, but we became a better and stronger company, and I became a better CEO.
Recently I have read about external problems that appear to be out of our control. These include a shortage of qualified employees, the rising cost of many products, including energy, supply shortages, and rising inflation.
Most internal problems in business seem never to change. They are mainly focused on people and processes. Both internal and external problems are controllable.
The problem-solving process starts with clearly defining the actual problem. Our first reaction to a serious situation tends to have an emotional response that could cloud our judgment. We must take a step back and begin to analyze the problem in detail.
Through a series of questions around the cause of the problem, how it was created, how it affects our business etc., we will begin to understand our challenges clearly. In the analysis process, we must include feedback from other employees in our organization. Management needs to be totally transparent as to the problem and avoid casting blame or being defensive.
A good business technique to obtain good employee input is to create a small team to help brainstorm. In selecting team members, they should be creative and not afraid to think out of the box or throw any possible solutions against the wall.
The solution needs to place the company’s welfare ahead of any negative effects the solution may have on our employees, including top management.
Problems should be addressed with a sense of urgency. Once we have a proposed solution, we need to implement it quickly.
We cannot be afraid of failure as sometimes failure is part of the process. Successful execution is about accountability, and in my experience, it is important to designate someone as our champion. The champion is the point person who will see the solution from the beginning to the end.
Companies that are successful at finding solutions to problems have a company culture that is entrepreneurial in nature. The tougher the problem, the more all individuals /employees need to demonstrate persistence and grit.
As you solve problems within your company, you will find new leaders will emerge within your business. Once everyone believes in the mantra that there is a solution to every problem, no problem will be too large to solve.
You just have to believe!