The New Year brings new goals and expectations of growth. If you do not enter the year with at least a little bit of concern or trepidation about your goals, then your goals are set to low. At least that is what my coaches have always told me, and I have accepted it as fact.
The New Year will bring successes and new challenges. New problems will often bring swift reactions from those of us who have a natural drive to solve problems and continue marching towards our goal.
Thirteen years ago, I was a first-time corporate manager and I remember heading into a leadership training where our VP opened his conversation with a statement about our team of managers. He loved our team and our drive, because he would place goals in front of us then we would chase them down and fulfill them. This was great, but as he explained he had an army which would take any hill they set their mind on taking. The only issue is once in awhile we would take the wrong hill and our competitors would actually win the battle. The challenge for all of us was to improve our business acumen, ask more questions, and begin to help the organization to take the right hills.
This description of good intentions causing problems in business helped me stop and constantly ask questions in business. Sometimes a question has to be asked to make sure everyone is looking at and working to take the right hill.
The article “Are You Solving the Right Problems? written by Thomas Wedell-Wedesllsborg (TWW) and published in the Jan/Feb 2017 Harvard Business Review reminded me of the challenge issued thirteen years ago to pull myself out of the weeds and look at what my business was doing to make sure we were working on the right problems and taking the right hills.
TWW challenges business leaders to stop and consider are we defining our problems properly? Or are we simply solving the problems we see and know. Some may consider what TWW presents to be common sense, but as he points out sometimes businesses focus on what the team knows and it is hard to step out of their comfort zone to find the right problem to solve.
Entrepreneurs and small business owners are often by nature – problem solvers. We see a problem and we begin to solve it (we storm the hill). However, if we take 5 minutes in some cases or longer in others we can make sure we solve the right problem by simply considering a few key ideas with our teams and clients.
Happy New Year and may your year be filled with growth.