Saturday, February 19, 2011

Thank God for Problems

As a manager, a leader, a mother or father, you may tire of the continual problems that come along with the job.  Some days it seems that that is all you hear about; how this organization (or family) has changed for the worse, and all the problems we are facing.  At the end of the day it can be exhausting.

In some ways this is the curse of leadership.  Think about it; in a reasonably well-run organization, there are not enough hours in the day to report on everything that is going right.  "Fuel arrived on time today."  "We didn't hear any employee grievances today."  "Twenty-seven bids came in under budget today."   These are statements that you will not hear, and you probably really don't want to spend time with.

By default, in your job or leadership role you are only going to hear about exceptions, inconsistencies.  There is no need to spend your time dwelling on the unexceptional examples of great performance that abound around you.

The more people you have working with you in an organization, the worse this problem becomes.  As your responsibilities increase, you will spend more and more time dealing with increasingly bigger exceptions, inconsistencies, and problems.  You should thank God for this.  The fact that the problems are being identified is a good thing; without that you could not begin to work on them or improve them.  Now you can use your intellect to find solutions:  organizational structural improvements, procedural improvements, and seeking changes in people's skills and the ever-elusive cultural change.

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