Focus! Have you ever told yourself to concentrate harder after making a mistake? I certainly have, specifically, when I play tennis, and lost a point and for years, I wondered why didn’t this work? And in business with a lost pitch, deal or argument. I hate losing. But I need to understand why. And never repeat mistakes. Live in the now, solve problems, now, that’s the thrill of sport, business and success. So, when a coach pulls you up, and says, “focus”, I’ve worked out this self-talk, can be an incomplete conversation. What am I supposed to “focus” upon? With more matches, meetings and years in business I found a practical, workable route to results. Focus on your problem, the specific solution and get results. Too often business people do not identify the right problem to be solved, as I wrote in this blog. Or when people search for good ideas, without really thinking about a purpose, (an old problem with many Suggestion Schemes and with brainstorming). Well described by Jeffrey Baumgartner, top international innovation and creative writer and speaker. In business and with your passions in life, focus on your problem and the specific solution on your particular journey. I’d like to share some processes to help you attack challenges, fast and effectively.
What is a problem?
Sticking with my tennis for a moment. The local county tennis coach told our West Hants coaches that two things really make the difference if you want to improve as a player: belief and match-play. On the latter, to succeed, I have to include Roger Federer in my thinking. He always goes into a match with a game-plan. But he’s admitted many times, how he enjoys being ready to change and adapt: it’s about problem-solving. The Oxford Dictionary defines a problem as “A matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome.”
Is a problem a mistake something bad and immoral to get angry about?
The better problem solvers, like Roger Federer, relish the challenge. He would accept that at times in the match he has created the problem. So, is he stupid? Is he bad, ignorant or to be admonished? Nope. He is put under pressure, short of time. In business, there are absolutely times, when problems are created due to unacceptable behaviour. However very often, market, competitiion or lack of experience by a company or person in a role, means they cause a problem. Or they come up against a problem, and it’s not a question of values, just a challenge to be dealt with.
Some of the current Global Problems in Business
- Supply Chains
- Information overload
- Diversity – cultural
- Government and Bureaucracy
- Innovation and Change
More on the Top 10 problems faced by businesses. This is very much a macro/global view.
Local Problems for Business People
Any business needs to challenge itself by actually “looking for problems” before the problem, trips up the business. That is part of a good business and strategic planning process. Here’s a simple, typical strategic planning review template we use in a mind-map process. Nick Hixson from Hixsons Business Enablers carries out regular strategic health-check, with clients, he talks about in this podcast. There is a well-trodden pattern of challenges of any business setting up and then running a business. This infographic rather nicely pictures the early stages. So, it is a matter of life-stage, functions, different functions – such as finance, sales, services and so on that each experience problems and solutions to be attacked.
Does this “problem”-centric approach, seem a pessimistic view of life and work? From a highly positive person, that may seem odd. No. What, I firmly advocate as an ex-cub scout is “be prepared”. And don’t be complacent about problems, or equally scared of them. It’s a challenge. The central message of this article is focus on your problem, the specific solution and get results. We use problem solving techniques and processes to help you attack challenges, fast and effectively. Live in the now, name and solve problems. Your doctor does it: diagnosis, prognosis and then the doctor devises a successful outcome – hopefully. In business and with your passions in life, focus on your problem and the specific solution on the journey. Lastly, here is a terrific life-map to guide you through life, with an accompanying article from my colleague from Taking Control, Steve Barker. He always says, there is no such thing as bad weather, just weather. In other words, plan ahead and enjoy what life offers. We all check the weather forecast!
Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited