Entrepreneurs are inundated with challenges, surprises, and problems. It’s part of the game. And whether we acknowledge it or not, that unpredictable nature of entrepreneurship is what we love. We love building and fixing things.
However, when it comes to problems, there is a recurring issue I see with many entrepreneurs (myself included): the desire to solve them immediately.
For the immediate relief, I’ve rushed to solve many problems with my business over the years. And several times, the desire for a speedy resolution created worse problems down the road because they were band-aid solutions — motivated by the desire for immediate relief from the problem.
It may sound well and good to deal with a problem swiftly, but often a quick solution results in kicking the can down the road or disenfranchising someone (perhaps even yourself).
If a person is the source of the problem, dealing with them in haste doesn’t give you the time to put yourself in their shoes. There are many variables when people are at the center of problems. You have to consider emotions, perspectives, the possibility someone is misleading you, and the like.
So, when expeditiously trying to solve a problem involving people, there is the potential that your perceived solution may not even address the real problem with that person(s) in your organization.
I’ve also realized that rushing to fix problems is selfish. The constant push for a quick resolution is done to get it off your plate. You don’t want it consuming your mindshare…
It’s important to remember there will be a reaction to your solution, and that reaction determines the direction your team and company go. Responses to problems set organizational cultures.
I’m involved with a startup that has had to deal with surprises and challenges of late. And the CEO is one of those all-out entrepreneurs who move at breakneck speed.
He recently ran into an administrative challenge and presented it to a group of people, myself included. I looked at the ‘problem,’ chatted with those involved, and realized the CEO misunderstood what was actually being contemplated. He had put the wheels in motion to solve a problem that didn’t exist.
This stressful situation could have been avoided entirely had he simply removed the desire to solve a problem quickly, and instead chatted with the counterparty. A five-minute phone call would have changed everything. Instead, the desire to solve the perceived problem immediately resulted in several days of stress for a handful of people.
“If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you.”
– Calvin Coolidge
Although it doesn’t give you immediate relief, it’s beneficial to think, take a day or two to come up with a plan, and then act. Your approach will be orderly and much less emotional. Taking the time to think about a solution gives you a better understanding of what the reaction may be, and how that solution may alter your course of operations.
Everyone enjoys working with a cool-headed, methodical operator. Avoid the urge to solve problems immediately.
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