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As circumstances would have it, this was the first shipment to a new client that was “testing” our new products in 200 stores with an opportunity to expand our distribution to over 2500 stores nationally. Instead of panicking, we took a problem solving approach that involved multiple steps and resulted in a full-blown change management effort with our label supplier, manufacturer, trucking company and client.As Karl Popper, one of the most influential 20 century philosophers of science, once eloquently stated, “All life is problem solving.” I’ve often contended that the best leaders are the best problem solvers.
When you know your workplace dot, you have a much greater sense of your sphere of influence.
This is almost impossible to gauge when you operate in silos that potentially keep you from having any influence at all.
Rather than viewing this problem simply as a hurdle that could potentially lose us the client, we took proactive measures (and a financial investment) to show our new client that we were capable of not only solving the problem – but earning their trust by responding promptly and efficiently with a comprehensive step-by-step incident report that included our change management efforts.
This experience taught us many lessons about our company and helped us to avoid many unforeseen problems.
As fundamental as communication may sound, don’t ever assume that people are comfortable sharing what they really think.
This is where a leader must trust herself and her intuition enough to challenge the team until accountability can be fairly enforced and a solution can been reached.
It becomes less about corporate politicking and more about finding resolutions and making the organization stronger.
3. Open-minded People Breaking down silos and communication barriers requires people to be open-minded. In the end, problem solving is about people working together to make the organization and the people it serves better.
They see around, beneath and beyond the problem itself. The most effective leaders approach problems through a lens of opportunity.
Leaders who lack this wisdom approach problems with linear vision – thus only seeing the problem that lies directly in front of them and blocking the possibilities that lie within the problem.