If You Can’t Do This You’re Doomed To Fail In Business And Your Career
We’ve overextended a client’s credit, and they owed us a half million dollars. They’re near bankruptcy.
When I heard these words, I wanted to FIRE everyone. To kick and scream and bleed and die.
I remember the feeling in the pit of my stomach. It was a feeling of worry, panic...ANGER.
As the leader of my team, this was on me. What I did about it was going to allow us to learn and win from the issue or fail miserably.
Complaining about a problem gets you nowhere.
Many default to complaining about a problem.
Why it happened.
Whose fault it is.
Why it’s not fair.
Complaining about why a team member isn’t pulling their weight.
Complaining about how someone is causing a cultural disturbance.
Complaining about why we didn’t land the contract.
What you need to do is quit complaining.
Complaining gets you nowhere.
When my team, family, or anyone bring me a problem, I ask, “what’s the three best solutions/options/ideas to the problem that you’ve thought of before bringing this to me and which one do you recommend and why?”
I do this for a few reasons.
First, I want them to exercise their problem-solving skills. If I come up with all the solutions, they’ll default to using me as a crutch.
Second, I don’t want my answers to sway them…initially. In some situations, my way is the best way. I have the experience, knowledge, and expertise in the area of the problem.
But most of the time, their decision will work perfectly.
Three, I want them to spend a little more time on the problem, so it’s less I have to think about.
Most of the problem-solving work needs to have been done before bringing me the issue so we can collaborate more effectively.
This way, I can be a better mentor and coach.
Instead of complaining, you need to start thinking.
We like to vomit about all the problems we have.
I didn’t get the PTO I wanted. My clients have payment issues. I can’t achieve a specific result.
The common denominator in all those situations is YOU.
You are the reason the problem goes unsolved. You are the reason things linger.
If you take a moment to think, diagnose, and resolve the problem, you’d see your life and career change.
Instead of looking at life as a constant problem, you’ll see opportunity in every situation.
Good or bad.
When you encounter a problem, ask yourself these questions.
Every great answer starts with a great question.
Once you begin asking yourself better questions, you’ll solve most of life’s “problems.”
What caused this problem to occur?
To find the root cause, you have to be honest with yourself.
In the example at the beginning of the post, it would be easy for me to say the problem occurred because people on my team didn’t do their j-o-b. This is an abdication mindset.
It occurred because MY company didn’t have the proper processes or controls in place to minimize the risk of this type of problem occurring.
What would be the ideal outcome of a specific problem?
Start with the end in mind.
If you lost a large contract, an ideal outcome is to engage the future client in another opportunity. To keep persisting. $500,000 is better than $0.
Or debrief with your sales coach on why you lost the contract and learn from it.
This can apply to any situation. If you’re getting divorced because you were always angry, that’s a great observation. The ideal solution is to work on your life’s values and make it a peaceful separation, especially if you have children.
What are three possible solutions we can begin exploring?
Now that you’ve identified the ideal outcome, here’s your chance to break it down into action steps.
For me, one action step was to hold an executive meeting and brainstorm possible solutions together.
In the session, we came up with an idea, and instead of being forceful and aggressive to collect our debt, we understand their situation (empathy) and approached them as wanting to help. With this approach, we helped them sell excess inventory, which added profit back to us to allocate to their debt. The final solution was we hired a debt collection agency specializing in their country. We pay the collector a fee, and they do all the work.
They still owe us a couple hundred thousand dollars, but in the end, it’s not a half million.
No matter your circumstance.
No matter the situation.
If you quit complaining and start thinking and acting as problems arise, you’ll be in a much better place.