Make Problem Solving a Team Sport

Laura Novakowski  -  Feb 20, 2014  -  , ,  -  Comments Off on Make Problem Solving a Team Sport

Feb_19_carryingproblemIf we didn’t have problems in business, we might as well close our doors. If for no other reason, than we would be really bored. More significantly, and I can speak from personal experience,  leaders often times have this self-imposed “hero” complex and try to carry the weighty issue alone.

When an issue shows and we try to go it alone, we can

  • think small and work on one symptom not the true cause
  • make the problem bigger than it is
  • get buried underneath it
  • make a problem when there is none and miss an opportunity for change and growth

One of the greatest lessons that I have learned as a 720thinker is that solving problems is a team sport. A team is one of our 720 fundamentals.  Teams help to  lighten the load,  share the burden of challenges and moves to positive action.  Proactively reaching out for those trusted advisers that offer honest  feedback and support is one of the key elements to success.

Consider the benefits of any team sport:

  • A fresh perspective, even one extra point-of-view, can add invaluable insights into any challenge.  Our blind spots are just that, they prevent us from seeing even simplest solution. When we add another members to our team we can make significantly more effect decisions.  We can decide if there is really a problem and if it is what part of the problem is within our control.  One and one generally makes more than two.  It’s amazing how even putting two heads together can lead to so many different solutions.
  • Gaining a common spirit of comradeship, enthusiasm, and devotion to a cause is invaluable.   The most successful leader, whether going it alone or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company learns early on, or after some really tough lessons, that esprit de corps is an essential for business success.
  • Access to significant resources.  One of my most valuable tools in my tools kit is my cell phone contacts.  Regardless of whether the issues are financial, material, or personnel,  having easy access to people who are willing and able to jump in at a moment’s notice can prove invaluable.  Recently, a colleague, in  a rapid growth mode, needed a key player  yesterday to make sure deadlines would be met. Fortunately, he was the type of colleague that was always there for everyone else. His company barely missed a beat as he gained a significant pool of qualified  contacts to draw from.
  • Leveraging strengths.  Even the most successful, talented leader can quickly become “the jack of all trades and master of none.“  When a problem arises, being surrounded by those complimentary talents required to solve a problem is much better than wasting time trying to adapt and learn skills that we quite honestly don’t care about or possibly will never master.

Feb_18_2014_opportunitiesThe list of benefits could go on for pages these four are the top of my list for participating in the team sport.  As with the Olympics,   every individual wins a medal because they have a significant, powerful team behind them. So why not give using the team as a sport concept to solve your business problems. You may not come out with the gold every time, but there’s a great chance that you will at least make the podium.




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