Are you really a problem solver?

Posted by on Mar 10, 2016

When you encounter a problem that’s easily solved, you solve it, right?

You probably said yes. I’d say yes too. Most people think of themselves as problem solvers.

But what about our actions? Are we actually solving problems — especially little ones — or are we mostly thinking about them, talking about them with colleagues, and wringing our hands?

These questions came through loud and clear for me at a recent conference.

When sound problems kept the people in the back of the ballroom from hearing the keynote speaker, a few of them spoke up about ten minutes into the presentation. An audio tech fiddled with some controls, the speaker adjusted the microphone, and the sound quality improved slightly. But the people in back still couldn’t hear without straining.

The folks in the front reported better sound quality, and seats were available. So guess how many people moved from the back to the front?

Out of about one hundred people struggling with suboptimal sound, 3% took matters into their own hands to solve the problem.

As for the 97%, perhaps they figured that the audio tech would eventually work a miracle. Perhaps they expected the speaker to switch from the clip-on microphone to the one with a cord. Or maybe they were so settled into their seats that they stayed put by default.

Keep this story in mind as your week unfolds, because you’re likely to face similar situations in which problems arise and solutions are within easy reach.

Will you count on someone else to effect a fix, will you submit to inertia, will you complain to yourself or to a colleague? Or will you work out a solution right there and then?

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By Tom Terez • Contact