I like to think of myself as an optimist, ‘there’s no problem that can’t be fixed’ is the reassuring motto I grew up with. The problem is that sometimes there are just too many of them; reining towards me like a meteor shower in the spring. I don’t know about you, but I find it extremely hard to process one problem while half a dozen others fight for attention on the side-lines of my brain. I guess that’s what they call ‘overload’?
I remember an ex-boss once saying to me, at a particularly inopportune moment, “Harley there is no such thing as problems, only challenges”. The irritation I felt at that moment, even today makes the muscles in my back tense when I think about it. I am not usually a violent man but that Friday afternoon, back in 2004, I could have seriously become one.
But the saddest thing of all, is that I bring it on myself! Sometimes I try and pretend that God exists and it is his will that I spend my life out in the world finding as many problems as I can to solve. At other times, my wife reminds me that I simply take on too much. And here’s the bottom line of this week’s blog:
There is an ironic contradiction that keeps us all busy. While we know that to survive we must constantly look outside for new opportunities (and dare I say ‘challenges’), inside our businesses, many of us have real problems that need solving by real people, in real time. Adding more external complexity, only makes matters worse. So I believe that it is a company’s ability to manage the ‘new’ while maintaining the ‘existing’, which can set it apart from its weaker rivals.
Have a good week,