The Value In Finding Problems and Running Toward The Mess

When is the last time you started the day with a statement like “I can’t wait to run into a problem today” or “Where is the best place to find a mess”? Sounds like things you should actually try to avoid on a daily basis, right? If you want to just do your job and get done with it, then yes, try to avoid these situations. However, if you want to make an impact, then you should actually work to find problems and run toward the mess.

Why should I look for problems or a mess?
Problems represent obstacles and a mess is an irritant to most people. A colleague of mine pointed out one day that we shouldn’t think of these as something to avoid, instead, they should be something we go toward. When approached correctly, these represent opportunities for new solutions. New solutions represent new products, services, jobs, or even companies. It depends on what you can do once you find a problem as to the potential upside.

What should I do when I find a problem or a mess?
1. Figure out the type it is:

  • Efficiency problem – process oriented issue where quantity is generally impacted
  • Effectiveness problem – value oriented issue where quality is generally impacted

2. Determine who it impacts:

  • People that could gain from change – work to get them involved
  • People that could lose from change – work to let them know what is coming and why it is important
  • People that could help you in making the change – get people on your side

3. Find out what it is worth:

  • Ultimately you want to know how much could it save on costs or increase in sales
  • Would it require money to get you there or just time?

4. Do something about it:

  • Start to socialize the concept with others. In this instance, it is better to give than receive. So when talking to others, find out how it can help them, not you.
  • Make a proof of concept. Depending on your skills, get as close to a viable and functioning solution as possible. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does need to get the point across.

When people find out you are interested in solving problems and cleaning up messes, you become more valuable. Once your interest turns into action, your value increases yet again. And if your action has a positive impact on results, then your value becomes exponentially higher. So in order for you to increase your value, start by finding problems and running toward the mess.

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