If you were to gather half a dozen business owners together and ask them what their job is, after they finished giving you a list of everything from union negotiator to janitor, invariably someone will say that their job is to solve problems. Clients have problems. Staff have problems. There are problems to be handled with suppliers and manufacturers. There are problems to be handled with operations. There are problems to be solved with lenders, and the list goes on. Most business owners see themselves as problem-solvers.
However, if you ask that same group to tell you what it is they love to do, it’s pretty rare that someone will enthusiastically volunteer that they love solving problems. Some people do, but often they aren’t entrepreneurs.
Now, not only do many business owners not like having to solve problems, many of them aren’t really that good at it. There is a special kind of person with a special kind of thinking that is powerful and gets energized about solving problems. If you don’t end up absolutely juiced from solving problems, it’s probably not your forté. And that’s not a problem. As a matter of fact, as a business owner, that’s an advantage.
Usually, as entrepreneurs, we started our businesses because we thought we could create something better or different than someone else, so off we went to create our company. We were likely excited (perhaps a bit nervous), but, we’re still here creating new opportunities and growing something we care about.
Here’s the key in all of this: we created a business – we didn’t solve a problem. Creating the business may have addressed a need in the market, but it was most definitely an act of creation rather than problem solving.
Most business owners are good at, and are energized by creating opportunities – not solving problems. If that’s true, then stop solving problems. Start creating opportunities that make your problems irrelevant.
>Whenever you, as a business leader, start to put your efforts into solving a problem, you are investing in your past – putting energy into something that has already happened. When you create an opportunity, it’s an investment in your future and the growth of your business.
This doesn’t let you off the hook from solving problems. Things still have to be handled in your business. But if you start to look at a problem and, instead of going into the problem to solve it, look beyond it to what could be done to make the problem completely irrelevant in the future, that’s likely where you’ll find that your real genius shows up (you’ll likely have lower blood pressure too).
Great businesses look beyond what’s in front of them today, while still handling the needs of the client. Stop solving problems, and create opportunities that will make them irrelevant.
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