So many people I know and consult with are brilliantly adept at identifying problems. Throughout their days, they are quick to find fault in others, and they regularly blame their environment for what isn’t producing their intended results. While this may be appropriate – dare I say accurate! – at times, I would offer that it is never as productive as taking ownership for one’s actions – and especially ownership for how one can contribute to any number of potential solutions.
Not nearly as many folks as those who can identify problems in the world seem to be as skilled at going the next step in determining potential solutions. Is it just me, or is that a problem?
As a leader and a coach and an executive consultant, I’m always happy to be asked for my opinion on things. Heck, I’m ecstatic when people let me drive a decision towards what I consider to be progress whenever I see a better way of doing things! I’m not always as happy or ecstatic though when those asking for my opinion – especially those I’m coaching – haven’t even bothered to assess a situation and consider at least a couple of alternative solutions to the problems they are experiencing.
Don’t get me wrong… Recognizing problems to in fact be problems is a critical first step in the problem-solving process. Problems don’t get resolved on their own though, nor will they get resolved simply by telling other people about them.
Whether they are big problems or small, real problems or merely perceived, being a part of the solution is an invaluable way of turning these challenges into tremendous opportunities. So stop blaming others for what’s happening around you, and stop relating to your problems as if they are brick walls you can’t get around, climb over, or even walk through. Problems exist to be solved, so start being a part of the solution.