fresh thinking http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/13969/all en-US On Problems and Opportunities http://www.wisebread.com/on-problems-and-opportunities <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/on-problems-and-opportunities" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/1121419794_d4a53cdb01_z.jpg" alt="man holding up hand" title="man holding up hand" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One manager I knew used to correct people when they said they had a problem. &quot;It's not a problem,&quot; he'd say, &quot;It's an opportunity.&quot; He was kind of a jerk. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/incentive-plans-always-go-awry">Incentive Plans Always Go Awry</a>)</p> <p>It was something of a fashion in management-speak at the time &mdash; that anything that seems like a problem is really an opportunity to do better. And despite the fact that this particular manager was a jerk, there's an underlying truth there. It's very easy to get so wrapped up in accomplishing your intermediate goals that you lose sight of what you're really trying to get done.</p> <p>For example, if you're trying to photograph something, and you're only getting crappy photographs, you might be inclined to say that you have a problem taking a good photograph. But it's always worth taking a step back and considering whether you a better photo is really what you need. Maybe what you need is <em>a drawing</em>. Maybe what you need is <em>a description in words</em>. Maybe what you need is to <em>bring people there in person and show them the real thing</em>. Maybe someone else has already taken <em>a great photo that you can use</em>.</p> <p>There's no limit to the possible examples. Maybe what you think is a car problem is actually a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-transport-bicycling">bicycle opportunity</a>. Maybe what you think is a job problem is actually a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-real-deal-what-to-expect-when-starting-your-own-business">small-business opportunity</a>. Maybe what you think is a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rural-living-in-a-world-with-expensive-fuel">rural-living problem</a> is actually an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/think-you-can-afford-more-house-in-the-exurbs-think-again">urban-living opportunity</a>. (Or maybe you have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-the-self-sufficient-life-and-how-to-live-it">the reverse</a>.)</p> <p>Maybe what seems like a problem is really an opportunity to figure out that you were trying to do the wrong thing.</p> <p>If you have a problem, take a step back and think about what you're really trying to accomplish. Maybe whatever you're struggling with can be done some completely different way. Maybe it it doesn't need to be done at all.</p> <p>So, if there's some truth there, why did pointing it out make this manager I knew into such a jerk? That's easy &mdash; what made him a jerk was that he was <em>denying the truth of other people's perceptions</em>. They thought they had a problem, and he was saying, &quot;You're wrong!&quot; That's just rude.</p> <p>If someone thinks they have a problem, don't tell them they're wrong. But do encourage them to take a step back and think about what they're really trying to accomplish. Maybe whatever they're having a problem with can be done an entirely different way, or be skipped altogether.</p> <p>Maybe they really do have an opportunity, rather than a problem.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/on-problems-and-opportunities">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fixing-mistakes-7-steps-for-any-situation">Fixing Mistakes: 7 Steps for Any Situation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-times-you-should-choose-private-school-over-public">7 Times You Should Choose Private School Over Public</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-scientific-reasons-to-ditch-the-luxury-brands">5 Scientific Reasons to Ditch the Luxury Brands</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/living-the-savvy-life-a-review">Living the Savvy Life: A Review</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-one-favorite-frugal-living-tip">My One Favorite Frugal Living Tip</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Personal Development fresh thinking opportunities problems Tue, 02 Oct 2012 09:37:09 +0000 Philip Brewer 954828 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Mindsets Holding You Back (And How To Overcome Them) http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/7-mindsets-holding-you-back-and-how-to-overcome-them <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/7-mindsets-holding-you-back-and-how-to-overcome-them" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/7-mindsets-holding-you-back-and-how-to-overcom...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/7-mindsets-holding-you-back-and-how-to-overcome-them" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000004669212Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you stuck?</p> <p>Symptoms vary. Along with lack of innovation, they include chronic inability to solve problems effectively, sort fresh ideas from stale ones, and envision new possibilities.</p> <p>Having been stuck myself and watched others stand still, I can relate. &quot;The half-life of an insight or of an innovation is short and getting shorter,&quot; Seth Godin tells us in <em>Poke the Box</em>. So, unimaginative thinking becomes more and more dangerous and prevalent. But mindsets that keep you from moving forward can be overcome. First, recognize the ways of thinking that are holding you captive. Then reorient yourself and take action.</p> <h3>Forgetting that Mission is Critical to Innovation</h3> <p>Absent a clearly-defined, well-understood mission, evaluating new ideas is impossible because there is no filter to determine relevancy. So, you default to appraising the value of a proposal by the polish of the presentation and conviction of the presenter, not its usefulness in realizing the dream.</p> <p><strong>Solution</strong>: Articulate your organization&rsquo;s mission, its purpose, its raison d&rsquo;être. Let mission drive decision making and action taking. Understand that one option is not inherently better or worse than another but more or less aligned with purpose.</p> <h3>Persistent Desire to Obtain Compliance</h3> <p>Your efforts are perpetually focused on promotion and persuasion in hopes that customers will act in accordance with your business plan. Traditional selling activities overshadow product development and customer service efforts.</p> <p><strong>Solution:</strong> Stop expecting customers to act in your self interest. Talk with your prospects and existing customers. Listen. Discover needs, uncover obstacles to interacting with your business, and find what motivates customers to action. Create products, service models, and experiences that mesh with market insights and real-life demand.</p> <h3>Belief that Superficial Change is Transformative</h3> <p>You have heard &ndash; more than once &ndash; that your business needs to keep up with trends in order to stay relevant. For a long while, you&rsquo;ve resisted change for fear of alienating your core customer. But when performance slips, you realize that the needs and expectations of your customer are much different now than just a few years ago.</p> <p>Hurriedly, you tweak your message, your product offerings, and your service delivery method. Mistakenly, you believe that minor changes will transform your business.</p> <p><strong>Solution:</strong> Make a thorough and honest assessment of your organization. Recall feedback that customers offered before you realized that they wanted you to change. Compare your product designs, methods of interacting with customers, technology platforms, etc. to best practices in your industry. Then, formulate and implement a comprehensive plan to make changes and keep up with industry trends.</p> <h3>Conversely, Not Understanding that Incremental Change is Transformative</h3> <p>You hesitate to modify operations, update technology, freshen brand image, etc. because you are waiting to make one humongous change.</p> <p><strong>Solution: </strong>Fine-tune your product, pitch, service delivery mode, etc. when you see areas for improvement. Smaller changes, over time, can help you to avoid having to make huge leaps all the time.</p> <p>As you become accustomed to dealing with change, you become more and more discerning when evaluating opportunities and savvier when taking steps to introduce new ideas.</p> <h3>Unwillingness to Consider Ideas from Those Outside Your Inner Circle</h3> <p>The uncomfortable truth is that innovative thinking may come from outside your familiar circle of trusted advisors. If you are stuck, they are likewise mired. They may see certain problems as temporary and make recommendations focused on superficial fixes rather than understanding of new realities.</p> <p><strong>Solution: </strong>Abandon the viewpoint that only those in your inner circle will take your organization to greater heights, especially if you are floundering now. Outsiders, including those on the periphery now and those new to your organization, can give fresh insights while insiders with domain knowledge can help with execution.</p> <h3>Belief that Quantity is Better than Quality</h3> <p>You are extremely busy. Despite the high volume of work, though, profits are flat. Customers are becoming more and more demanding. As a result, you move from one crisis to the next, deftly solving problems but never feeling in control of your business.</p> <p><strong>Solution:</strong> Eliminate activities and revenue streams that are bogging you down, splitting your attention, and failing to deliver profits &ndash; and causing the marketplace to see your business as nothing special.</p> <p>Channel efforts to excelling in an area that your business can dominate.</p> <p>Convey the message of niche expertise worthy of premium value, not a commodity competing on price with similar companies in your industry.</p> <h3>Failure to Distinguish Between Essential Activities and Outdated Habits</h3> <p>You cling to standard modes of operations without separating essential activities aligned with mission and goals from outdated habits started years ago for reasons now forgotten. Activity is wasted on seemingly good but, in reality, unnecessary movement.</p> <p><strong>Solution:&nbsp;</strong>Review daily, weekly, and monthly actions for relevancy to fulfilling purpose, demonstrating organizational values, and achieving goals. Eliminate what is no longer needed. Streamline through technology and process changes. Free time and release brainpower to generate ideas and pursue innovation.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/7-mindsets-holding-you-back-and-how-to-overcome-them">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-youre-bad-at-money-and-how-to-fix-it-asap">8 Reasons You&#039;re Bad at Money — And How to Fix It ASAP</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-ways-to-spend-the-last-10-minutes-of-your-workday">The 5 Best Ways to Spend the Last 10 Minutes of Your Workday</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center bad habits fresh thinking habits of mind innovation mindset routine small business Thu, 09 Jun 2011 21:01:03 +0000 Julie Rains 550835 at http://www.wisebread.com