I’ve learned to evolve out of just being a problem solver and being more of a opportunity seeker. There is a definite difference between the two types of activities.
A team member came to me today wanting to make a movement of some of the players on the board to solve an immediate issue that seemed to them at the time a fire becoming a bonfire. What they didn’t see beyond just the swap was that with any decision you make to solve a single problem in the moment, can be a catalyst for more problems due to the trade-off you make by taking them off their task to solve another. It might solve the single issue you have in the moment, but what work is not getting done because you took a valuable specialist off the role they’re strong at? Is the potential problem that could evolve from that trade-off bigger than the one that is in front of you right now?
Problem solving I found was very singular in its focus. It’s very narrow and specific in it’s activity. With enough work, I can solve the issue in front of me. However, I was finding I wasn’t solving any problems in the future because my head was to focused on solving the now.
As an opportunist and seeker of opportunity it takes problem solving skills further than just the now. It’s broad stroked in its approach. In that I found myself taking the ambiguity of the situation and trying something new with it, spreading out broader and linking together problems. I found I was finding things that I wasn’t seeing before because I had a bigger perspective versus the narrow. I asked myself “what if” a lot with each opportunity I saw.
Bell said this:
When one door closes, another opens; but often we look so long upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.
As I moved through the day with a more open mind and approach to the ambiguity of it all I could hear opportunity knocking. Problem solving became not just solving what was in front of me, but solving a chain reaction of problems. My success on completing the projects in front of me for the day accelerated. I solved issues before they even had a chance to damage the team.
How can you answer opportunity and not just the single problem in front of you? Better yet, what current problem is in front of you that your not seeing because your not seeking opportunities in it all?
Things to think about as you get ready to wrap up your week tomorrow. Give yourself the gift of the weekend by leaving no opportunities out there hanging.