Challenges and New Ideas.

From Challenges Come Not Just Answers, But New Ideas

We all face challenges every day.  Some deal with them better than others.  Click the link and take a look.

When you’ve hit a roadblock.

I have a friend who has the uncanny ability to find ways to solve mechanical problems with the simplest of common assets.  Be it a conventional tool or something he manages to whip up, he almost always finds a way around or through a roadblock.  He’s young, so unless he was born to the MacGyver clan there’s no way this comes to him through past experiences.  It just comes naturally.

There are those among us that can visualize the answer and make it happen with little fanfare.  The task simply gets done; no fuss, no muss.

I get there, but it takes time.  I’m an intelligent person, but at times I can focus on the outcome and not the journey.  Wait!  Here’s an opportunity to create New Ideas and build strength for myself and my clients!  This is a good thing.

There is joy in the journey, pleasure in the process and New Ideas can be born when we step back and look at the roadblock from a different angle.

In the past week, my wife and I were told that an idea we’d developed wasn’t what the client had in mind.  It needed to be “80% different” than what we’d offered. How can that be?  That means only 20% of what we had worked on was acceptable, right?

Being no stranger to challenges, I told my wife to not take it personally nor concentrate on what we’d done wrong or the 20% we’d apparently done right.  Instead, step completely away from it and think about what the client really said.  They were attempting to put into words what they liked, didn’t like and their global thoughts.  What they didn’t do was share their vision with us.

We could have looked at the project from a dozen different angles, yet still missed the target.  How?  Because we weren’t awarded the opportunity to do the cursory Client Needs Analysis. 

     I whole-heartedly believe that you need to fully understand the problem to solve it.  Otherwise a lot of time and efforts are wasted.  A Client Needs Analysis gives us the control to take the proper arrow from the quiver and sight it precisely toward the bullseye.  In this case, the client wanted a more abstract answer, thus no question was posed.  No problem was presented so we were shooting in the dark.

Since we missed the mark, what can we learn from the “good” 20%?

Step back, re-examine the landscape and see how you can build on it.  Does it fit at all?  Most of all, pay attention to the process.  Look around you during the journey.  There are lessons to be learned.

Our second effort truly is 80% different from the first.  (We were given an important piece of information that indirectly lead us to a path that resulted in success.)  But, it looked nothing like the prior effort.  It wasn’t just an answer, but an entirely New Idea.  It happened because conventional tools and problem-solving methods weren’t working.  We stepped way back and looked at the task in a completely different manner.  We considered the signs we saw along our journey and used them to guide us in this second effort.

In a second scenario in the same week, I was presented with a challenge while working on my personal car.  Upon hitting a roadblock, I stepped completely back….accessed my resources (friends, manufacturers, and specialists) and quickly moved forward with a great answer that solved my problems.  The answer most certainly was not the one I would have seen had I been focused on the result.  This time, I embraced the journey. I worked the process.

So, while I’m not the one that can look at any mechanical challenge and immediately know how to fix it with duct tape and a road flare, I do find myself enjoying the experiences of learning along the way, so I can remember how it worked the last time.  When I focus solely upon the result I often don’t learn enough through the process.  Nothing that I can “bank” and  use the next time.

Are you embracing the process?  Or allowing life’s pressures to force you into focusing only on the result?

Slow down.