Problem Solving

Career mistake #4

November 30, 2011 Categorized in: AdvancementProblem Solving

Executive search firm CEO Skip Freeman calls it “Fatal Career Mis­­take #4”—not branding yourself as a person who can save or make money for a company. These days, you won’t be hired merely because you have the know-how, he says. You’ve got to be a problem-solver.
Have you ever caused a problem for your computer because you simply didn’t know better? “You’d be surprised how many people unknowingly damage their computers,” says Derek Meister, a Best Buy technician. Here are six no-no’s to avoid to keep your computer out of the repair shop:

Train colleagues to be self-sufficient

November 11, 2011 Categorized in: Problem Solving

Administrative assistant Linda Bates was on her way to a ski vacation when she got a frantic phone call: “The copy machine is jammed! What should I do?” Bates says the path to creating a self-sufficient staff begins with teaching them how to use equipment as it comes into the office.

Look for what you can’t see

November 7, 2011 Categorized in: Problem Solving

During World War II, the British Air Ministry tried to figure out why they’d had so many bomber losses. Engineers looked at every bullet hole on every bomber and decided to add armor plating to the areas with the most holes. It didn’t work. Enter Abraham Wald, a mathematician.
From time to time, people who report to you will bring you problems created by a decision that you made. They may appear exasperated by the pickle you put them in. Your response, in all cases, should be a good-natured invitation for the two of you to go have a look. Use these exact words: “Let’s go see!”
What are you afraid of? Speaking your ideas? Having a difficult conversation? Those cruel dressing-room mirrors during swimsuit season? Well, don’t let the fear of crowds or mirrors stop you. Pushing through the fear is a necessary rite of passage.
You’re a model of efficiency … except when it comes to that one task you dread. Whether it’s filing, completing an assignment for your “difficult” manager or approaching the boss about a raise, you fall prey to the procrastination monster. You know the answer is “Just do it,” so push yourself along with these tactics:
If an underlying tension exists between you and a co-worker, now’s the time to address it. While it may be easier to ignore it, such tensions can mushroom. Use these techniques to reverse the momentum of mounting conflict:
“I’m worried the team won’t like my suggestions.” “I’m worried I didn’t give my boss enough time between flights.” “I’m worried they’ll eliminate my position.” Everybody worries sometimes, but too much worrying becomes a mental bad habit that costs time, money and personal sanity. What to do instead? Make worry WORK for you.

Be a ‘curator’ of good ideas

July 21, 2010 Categorized in: Problem Solving

Virtually every problem has already been solved by someone, though that person may not be in the same room or building as you. Great solutions could be one conversation away. Bottom line: Think of yourself as a “curator,” someone who knows how to borrow the best ideas of others, while adding your own twist.
Supervisors depend on you to protect their busy schedules, leaving you to deal with calls from sales representatives. You tell the reps you’ll pass the information to your supervisor, and someone will follow up should there be an interest. However, your words fall on deaf ears, and they continue to follow up. Some even stretch the truth in hopes of making a sale. So what do you do?
How are companies feeling about the future? A recent McKinsey survey reports executives are feeling positive about their companies’ ability to rebound: 74% of respondents say they expect companies’ profits to rise over the next 12 months.
Much has been written about the show “Undercover Boss” and what managers and leaders can learn from it. But managers aren’t the only ones who can benefit. Admin pros, who partner with those same managers and leaders, can benefit from glimpsing a business through the eyes of top brass. It’s a reminder of how to bring value to your organization.