I am on my way to the quarterly status update with my Sales Manager. The last quarter has been terribly bad. We reached nowhere near the Sales target. Naturally, I am moving ahead with a great resistance and a palpitation rate of the highest order. I have no idea of what will turn out for me in the meeting.
Fifteen minutes later, I come out of the room. There is a sigh of relief on my face; a similar _expression can be seen on my Sales Manager's face. As soon as I come to my cubicle - out of my Sales Manager's sight, this “sigh of relief" explodes into an _expression of joy - I DID IT, AND I DID IT AGAIN !!!
I could convince him easily about why the sales couldn't happen this time, why I had absolutely nothing to do with the figures not being met, and why it would be a cake-walk in the next quarter. He is absolutely convinced about it. I am safe. At least for the next 3 months!
Is it that I am more skillful at providing execuses than meeting sales figures? May be.
MAY BE NOT.
May be, I just didn't apply myself enough at meeting the sales figures.
May be, I didnt feel enough “ownership" of that problem.
May be, I didnt come up with a good enough strategy.
May be, the sales projections were impossible to reach.
May be . . . .
May be . . . .
May be . . . .
I will never know. NOBODY WILL EVER KNOW !!!
However, the fact that I could come up with a solid execuse to protect my job, is proof enough that I could have possibly come up with a similarly solid strategy to meet the sales figures . . .
THE “HUMAN" SIDE OF PROBLEM-SOLVING
Whether it is a second-order differential equation, a programming problem, a sales target to be met or an HR problem - we cannot separate the problem from the problem-solver; we cannot separate the process of innovation from the innovator.
Any problem-solving occurs in the context of a problem-solver. Any innovation occurs in the context of an innovator.
Problem-Solving is essentially a “harmony", a “dialog" between a problem and the solver.
Probably, a colleague of mine would have found it easier to meet the sales figures, however aggressive, than to come up with a defending execuse.
HOWEVER, BOTH OF US WOULD BE EQUALLY MASTERS AT PROBLEM-SOLVING !!!
It is just that we would have solved a different problem in each case !!!
We might try desperately to hide behind the garbs of “professionalism", “processes", “methodologies", “work ethics", “taking ownership" and a host of other fictitious jargons, the fact remains that we cannot eradicate the human factors that drive (or stall) the process of innovation.
Asking an individual to be professional will not help.
Asking an individual to be more disciplined or punctual will not help
Asking an individual to “own up the problem" will not help.
Asking an individual to think differently, think out of the box, think innovatively, think quickly will never, never help.
It has never helped. We know that.
It will never help. We know that.
IT IS NOT SUPPOSED TO HELP. WE KNOW EVEN THAT.
However, due to lack of an alternative, we might feel tempted to do it over again and again.
AN “ALTERNATIVE" THAT WORKS!
There is a process - an underlying mechanism to Problem Solving and Innovation. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are masters at using this process, and we do create a host of results using this process throughout our lives.
UNDERSTANDING THE PROCESS OF INNOVATION WOULD SURELY TAKE US MILES AHEAD THAN OUR PEERS. Knowing exactly what works and why, we will be able to cut short several deteours in our journey towards a solution, and be more accurate, optimal and efficient in churning out ideas and executing them.
It is not that we have to “learn" innovation. We only need to make our thinking more optimal, accurate and efficient.
It is not that we have to “learn" problem-solving. We only need to learn how to identify and attack the “right" problems.
Someday, the HR department of an organization might wake up to this realization and declare in the company policy :
"It is mandatory for all employees to work only on the right problems".
Or else, they may find a better way.
Visit the TENEX home-page, http://mindstones10x.com to discover one such better way. A web-based training on innovation and problem-solving skills guaranteed to boost your skills and efficiency at innovation and problem-solving TEN TIMES.