Problems are giant black holes that capture focus, drain vitality, and divert resources. Solving problems seduces leaders away from future opportunities to focus on past inadequacies.
Problems that threaten organizations must be addressed, admittedly. Sadly, many leaders are simply problem-solving machines; they jump from one fire to the next.
You never build the future by solving the past. The problem with solving problems is we think we’ve created results when we haven’t. Solving problems doesn’t create value.
“Results are obtained by exploiting opportunities, not by solving problems.” —Peter Drucker
Most calls I receive are problem-centered calls. The pain of past deficiencies or failures drives us to seek solutions. We’re looking for an “ahhh” moment to make the pain go away. We falsely believe that if the pain goes away, we’re heading in the right direction.
Leadership’s Greatest Value: helping people shift from the past to the future.
1. Who do you want to become?
2. How do you want to be?
3. Where are the greatest opportunities?
4. What talents and resources are currently in place?
5. What matters most?
6. How can you achieve the best results?
7. What should be jettisoned?
8. How can you create quick wins?
9. How can you fuel momentum and create urgency?
10. What training leverages opportunities?
Assessing current pain areas – past failures – is essential, but it’s never the end. Wandering around in the past, if that’s all you do, is a colossal waste of time. Backward-facing assessments take organizations in the entirely wrong direction.
Success is where you aren’t – the future – not where you were – the past.
How do you overcome the temptation to be a problem-solver rather than a leader?