Sunday, October 25, 2009

Stop Solving Your Problems

Because I couldn’t watch the NFL game on TV that I wanted to this late afternoon (Saints vs. Dolphins), I instead read through the stack of magazines that were covering my desk and littering the floor of my office. Flipping through Fast Company, I ran across an interesting piece, Stop Solving Your Problems. While most of the article dealt with big company stuff, I found myself thinking about how entrepreneurs could take the same notions and apply them to our own companies. Consider the notion that the authors Dan Heath and Chip Heath, raise as they begin the article:

“Your business has a big problem. You've thought about it, but you can't seem to crack it. So you consult your colleagues -- to no avail. Then you turn to the big guns -- your industry's top experts. They've got nothing. (Well, to be precise, they've got 40 PowerPoint slides worth of nothing, and you've got $225,000 less of something.) Now what?”

While most of us won’t spend $225,000 with a consultant, how many of us have spent less and were left with a consultants report and the nagging feeling that nothing was solved. The authors go on to point out that…

“We start by tapping the local knowledge, and if it's insufficient, we go looking for specialists. But what if we're following the wrong protocol? We should stop looking for experts and start looking for analogues. It's a big world: Chances are someone has solved your problem already.”

Take a look at the article and then try to apply it in a less costly manner (most of us aren’t going to get NASA involved) to our own problems.

On a related thought, see Dan Macsai’s take on three ideas that the newspaper industry can copy to help its business.

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