“We’re great at admiring our problems, but we haven’t got a clue how to fix them!”

An executive that we admire, we’ll call him Rick, was sharing with us the struggle he was having with his new team. He was candid about the fact that he had started to “drink the kool-aid”—he too had started to stand back and admire the problems that had plagued the company for years. When he realized that he was slipping into a state of “Problem Admiration,” he committed to doing something to shake things up. In a bold move, he walked into the warehouse and grabbed the workflow board off the wall and tossed it into the dumpster.

His colleagues gasped and the employees had a good laugh but then there was quiet as everyone began wondering, “What on Earth is he thinking?” They had all been struggling with their work process for years, and yet that flawed process was the glue around which they worked. How could he turn it upside down like this?

Fortunately for the company, Rick had the guts to shake things up before he, too, became complacent and shared in the hand wringing that is problem admiration. With the workflow board gone, he got the team together and led them through a work session to create a process that fit with the company’s needs going into the future. He challenged each manager to start looking for solutions to problems in their departments and to stop talking about past problems as if they were the future of the company.

It’s important to identify the problems that your company is facing, but then you must stop talking about the problems and start solving them.

Take some time this week to think about a problem in your life or work that you have started to admire. Then spend some time pushing yourself to identify several new ways you might approach the problem—select one of the ideas and give it a try. You will likely feel more powerful and effective by simply shifting from admiring your problems to committing to doing something about them. That shift in your thinking can help you when your solution doesn’t go as planned, and you feel pulled back to problem admiration. Don’t let yourself get sucked into the old problem—pick yourself up and experiment with the next idea you’ve come up with. Each time you move forward with a commitment to solve the problem, you will be gaining the traction needed to actually solve it!

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