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Showing posts from April, 2016

Collaborate Rather Than Dictate

Do you ever find it easy to identify the solution to someone else's problem? Without the headaches and heartburn of the problem sitting in your own life, it can seem far more simple and easy to solve. Seem. That does not mean that it is. And when we take on the problems of another without asking them what they've already done or plan to do, any solution that we do develop is likely to fall short. Ownership of the solution is just as important as creativity. Sometimes solving someone else's problem  for  them is a big mistake. Collaborate rather than dictate. Share ideas. Work together. Understand the problem at it's heart and center and not just on the surface. That takes time. That takes patience. And that takes collaboration. Centered problem solvers collaborate with creativity, courage, clarity, and compassion. Leave any of that out, and the solution may be incomplete and ineffective. We've all tried that already, haven't we? Why not start to get

Relieve Some of That Stress

What's your single biggest stressor? Would you like to get rid of it? For me, the biggest stressor in my life is usually also my biggest problem. The longer it stays a problem, the bigger and more gnarly it gets, which puts more pressure on me to solve it, which causes more stress. I could do without that stress. But, it's there to help. Stress reminds us that somethings needs to be taken care of. Something needs to be fixed, found, or solved. Why not simply get started? Solving your toughest problem may not relieve all of your stress but it sure helps focus it in the right direction. Why not relieve some of that stress today? Get started! Centered problem solvers realize that problems are not completely separate from themselves. We know not to take them personally, and yet they interfere with our personal selves. Instead of reacting in an immobilized way to the stress that produces, why not move forward. Figure out the root cause of the problem and then set about a

Help People Understand Your Goals

Why would anyone not support one of your goals? It seems clear to you. You know the benefit. You see the value. It's an easy choice. Why isn't it getting the support that you want? People need help. We don't always understand a goal the first time we hear it. Or even the second. Or third. We're all so busy, that for any one goal to catch our attention (especially if it's not even our ow goal) it had better be clear, creative, courageous, and compassionate. In other words, it must prepare to do bold things in a kind way. When we can frame our goals from that point of view, they seem much more compelling. People who stand in the way of your goals don't yet understand them. So make sure that people understand these keys to your goals: - the financial value - the personal value (how it effects people positively) - what makes it cool (how is it amazingly creative?) - the adventure (where's the challenge in it that makes it almost a dare?) Include

What Do Your Goals Say About You

What would people think about you if all they knew about you was your goals? Would they consider you ambitious? Noble? Focused? Ask yourself that question and think about your answers. If I only knew what your goals were, would you be someone I'd want to spend time with? Help you with those goals? Tell my family about? I need to ask myself those questions, too. What makes my goals so special? What makes me worth talking to? I'm with you on this one today. What do our goals say about us? -- Doug Smith

Dig Deeper

If that problem has been around awhile, if that problem is cagey to the point of making you scratch your head, you might need many solutions. Many ideas. Creative, centered problem solvers stay with the process long enough to develop more solutions that any one problem needs. The gold is deep. Keep digging. -- Doug Smith

Tension Equals Energy

Do problems make you tense? Some problems really get me going. The space of no solution is a tough one to navigate. There probably IS a solution, it's just not evident yet. In the mean time, it's tense. Why not use that tension? The tension that problems cause us is energy: use it. -- Doug Smith

Don't Be Scared!

I remember when my kids were little, every once in a while we'd tell them "don't be scared." Because, of course, they were. We're all scared sometimes. Big problems can scare us. What on earth will we do? How will we ever solve such a tough problem? That's our sign. Solve that thing. Get working on it. Don't be scared. Fear of a problem is all the more reason to solve it. Centered problem solvers don't internalize the fear of a problem - they energize around it. You're not afraid of that little problem are you? Me, either. -- Doug Smith

Ask The Tough Questions

Problems resist easy answers. That's why we need to ask the tough questions. Why are things the way they are? What is the deeper cause? On the surface, we may think we understand a problem. Digging deeper, asking probing and open ended questions, we can get at the heart of what is really going on. Are people being rewarded for incorrect behavior? Is someone benefitting from the problem situation? If so, who? Is it too easy to ignore the problem? Is the source of the problem aware that there is even a problem? For example, those who most resist a fair distribution of work are those who may not be working too hard. Why change?  Executives making juicy bonuses may not even be aware of how hard it is to live paycheck to paycheck. Creative problem solvers ask the tough questions with curiosity. Not to judge. Not to punish. But to know. What's really going on? Centered problem solvers use their creativity to separate people from the problem. They use their compassion to f

Goals Take Time

Which goal are you working on today? Oh, I know. You could be working on fifty goals today. Fifty? How many goals are too many? Where does your focus need to be to make a real impact? I'll ask you again, in a slightly different way. What major, noble goal are you working on today? What goal will change you, change your team, maybe even change some part of the world? Today will pass. You'll be busy. Stuff will get done. How much time will you spend today achieving your goals? How does all of your time sound? Too much? OK. I understand. How about twice as much as you planned? Your goals need your attention. Are you ready? -- Doug Smith

Share Your Goals

Do you tell people about your goals? When you do, great surprises can happen. You might get more help than you expected. You'll find more clarity around your goal. And your enthusiasm will grow. If you're not sharing your goals with others it could be telling you something about your goals. They should be exciting. They should be noble. And, they should be easy to tell other people. Easy because they are important. Easy because they are on your mind. The best goals are easy to share. Which goal are you talking about the most these days? -- Doug Smith

Embrace The Odd

Do you know anyone who is a little bit, umm, odd? Since I've worked in entertainment as well as business, and played in bands and made movies, I've known my share of odd people. People who have interesting habits that make them just a little different. Like collecting nail clippings in a jar (yes, someone I once lived with actually did that) or alphabetizing their yogurt in the refrigerator (yes, someone I'm quite sweet on does that). Odd can be good (except that same person with the yogurt does not like odd numbers) and extremely helpful when it comes to problem solving. Problems need new ideas, new ways of doing things. When we are solving problems, we need all the creativity that we can get. What greater source of creative ideas than a problem solving team member who is a bit eccentric? Who else would think of that game-changing idea? Who else could be more fun? An eccentric problem solver is still a problem solver. And that's what high performance leader