This short article deals with our perspective on problems. Do you see them as Problems or Opportunities and why problems are gold mine for opportunities - both from a corporate and individual's perspective.
"Every problem is an opportunity in disguise. Don't let it slip from your hand"
This quote reminds me of my stint in my previous corporate life where I was the Six Sigma spokesperson for their Asia Pacific region.
Problems from a Corporate Perspective:
This was about eight years back and our challenge was in finding problems (defects in the process) that offered us an opportunity for kicking-off an improvement project. That was the first time I realized the value behind problem shopping. Those days my full time job was to "shop for problems" - problems that were leading to a revenue loss or cost increase. I call it "Shopping for problems" because we had to build a "pipeline of projects" that could offer someone an opportunity to get started on a project that would subsequently help them get their Black Belt or Green Belt. And so, when we would go out shopping (talking to colleagues with the sole intent of sniffing out potential areas of problems), we often had to offer them incentives (recognition) to get them into a habit of sniffing for problems. These recognitions did the trick - suddenly you were being recognized for bringing out more problems and rewarded for displaying a habit of 'continuously thinking about processes that were slowing you down'.
Shopping for Problems:
As Leaders, when you openly go shopping for problems, you will be surprised with the gold mine of opportunities.
We usually won't just settle for fixing the problem but would keenly study the root cause of the problem and explore, if we could somehow improve the profit, by changing the process or adding some catalyst...
Even when I moved out of the role, this habit stayed with me for obvious reasons.
Problems from an Individual's perspective:
For individuals like us, problems could be our "Learning Milestone". Remember it is a problem because we don't see a solution or something that is outside our "comfort zone". Generally, they offer an opportunity to grow.
When was the last time you went shopping for problems? There is a flat 50% discount...