You have two options when you’re facing a problem:
You experience “not my problem” throughout your day.
Last week I was at a store to pick up something for one of my kids that we had ordered several weeks ago and was shipped to the store. And let me preface this story by saying I’m not trying to shame this retail worker or this store. Retail workers are experiencing demand they usually see during the holidays.
They're working with new social distancing conditions.
Customers are panicked and anxious. I get it; this environment isn’t easy and they didn’t sign up for it.
Anyway, I go to pick up the item we ordered and there’s a new person working. She’s flustered. They’re busier than normal and my default is to be chipper and polite (doesn’t always happen!). While waiting, a gal from the other side of the store- a worker I’ve known for years through her helping our family- comes in and tells the newer worker her office phone isn’t working. This store has two numbers depending on what you need and the one number isn’t working. The newer worked acknowledges the statement but doesn’t know what to do.
After a few more moments, she sends me to the other side of the store to get the item I ordered. I head to the other side and discover the worker who said the phone's not working is the only worker to answer phones and serve customers. She’s working hard. She’s with a customer. Traffic continues to fill the store and continues to get phone calls for the part of the store whose phone isn’t working.
She’s not getting mad. But rather than telling people to call back an hour. Or writing down their numbers so the other part of the store can call them back. Or ignoring the phone to serve the customers in the store, she communicate this isn’t her problem:
One of my first bosses out of college chose to see problems as opportunities. I was in grad school and I was managing apartment complex Tarina and I lived when we were first married. I oversaw two apartment buildings with over 60 units and 4 houses. I collected rent. Mowed yards. Cleared snow. Marketed vacant apartments. Fixed the occasional leaky toilet. There was always a problem, and whenever I’d head to my boss’ office to complain, the scene was the same: My boss was a giant of a man (he played football at the University of Michigan in the 1950s and made annual trips back to the Big House) and he was always chewing on a cigar (called it his pacifier).
I’d go in to his office to complain and expect him to solve my problem and in between bites of his cigar he’d say the same thing: problems are opportunities.
One winter I was snowblowing the rental homes and accidentally sucked up a one of the house’s dog chains and it got wrapped around the auger. The snowblower came to a fantastic stop and I was clearly in trouble. I remember calling him and thinking perhaps this problem was an opportunity . . . . an opportunity for him to fire me!
Whenever I encounter a problem, his mantra is still there.
I don’t always respond the way I want to.
I don’t always see the opportunity with the problem.
I don’t always want to see the growth present if I just lean in. Solve the problem. Work toward a solution.
But I desire to growth. I desire to see problems as opportunities rather than ignoring them believing they aren’t my problems.
You have two options today when you encounter a problem:
How will you see your problems today?
Some organizations who have booked this training